Day 283 – Rock steady

Day two hundred eighty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I’m not setting any records, that’s for sure. But I am writing every day again. Even if only a hundred words in a day, I’m writing.

Accountability is key. I don’t care what my goals are: as long as I’m giving it a go each day, I’m succeeding. I hold myself accountable to make sure I make an effort every day. Nine times out of ten, it works. If I can’t write for myself and keep on top of things by my own volition, I’ll never do any better for a publisher in the future.

My plan is to keep it steady. No big expectations, no unreasonable goals. And definitely, DEFINITELY, no excuses.

Day 230 – Back into the rewrite

Day two hundred thirty of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I’m back. Back into the rewrite. I did some other writing for a bit, but began to again feel that niggling urge to get up to my elbows in revising my first draft. And I must say, it feels good to get back at it.

I’m revisiting the second half of Chapter 3 with purpose in mind to make changes to the plot. So far, so good. It’s even a little exciting. I have discovered that plot changes have that effect on me. With renewed creative energy, I look forward to working on it some more tomorrow.

Day 182 – Six month milestone!

Day one hundred eighty-two of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 180, 181 and 182: 1,900

Well, folks. Good news. I have reached the halfway point of my 365 Day Writing Project. Consider my mind blown. This is my biggest milestone yet, and I’m mystified…elated…inspired…satisfied…proud. When I started this Project last July, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it. Write every day. Blog often. Finish writing a book. All with the goal to eventually publish my first book.

With full-time jobs as a lawyer and mom to three young kids, I knew it was going to be a huge challenge. So far, I have been doing it. I have made time to write and have been writing every day. I have been blogging often. I’m about to finish the first draft of my manuscript. I am working toward my goals one step at a time. But the purpose of this Project goes far beyond writing every day. It is about forming a strong foundation of habits and practices to become a successful writer. It is about the daily practice of self-discipline, commitment and consistent, hard work. Having accomplished this much in six months’ time, I have zero doubt that I will do everything I set out to do.

Over the last six months I have made some meaningful contacts here in the WordPress community and beyond, and I am grateful for all of them. Many of you have given me words of encouragement and support, and have welcomed me into a kind of communal knowledge base that is invaluable. You are all helping me become a better writer. I can’t thank you enough.

I will continue for another six months, and more. I hope you stick around with me. I may be halfway through the Project, but really, this is just the beginning.

Day 171 – Forming the habit of writing

Day one hundred seventy-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,000

I thought a lot about writing today. I kept thinking about how I would rather be working on my novel than what I was doing at the time. I was looking forward to my nightly ritual of having a cup of tea and writing after the kids were asleep. I couldn’t wait for it.

When I finally got the opportunity, I was happy to have it. But all of this thinking about writing got me thinking about what I would be doing at night if I didn’t write. I actually Tweeted about this (see below). What I learned from it was that I didn’t really miss the things I would be doing if I wasn’t writing. It felt unnatural to consider them again, which is great news for me. It means that I have fully formed the habit of writing every day, to the point of rendering my old nightly habits and routines into something other than habits and routines.

Writing is what I do now. It has been 171 days (or nights) of committed, disciplined writing. This is my daily habit, my routine. And since I’m wishing I could be writing when I’m doing something else, I know without any doubt that it is a good habit to have.

Day 147 – Writing sometimes gets pushed down the list of priorities

Day one hundred forty-seven of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 145, 146 and 147: 700

No, that isn’t a typo. I only wrote 700 words this weekend. With Christmas just days away and plenty of other things in my schedule (I won’t bore you with details), writing took a distant back seat. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

That’s just how it worked out for me this weekend. I expect the next two weeks to be equally challenging, with holiday celebrations and visits with family and friends. But I will be writing every day, even if only a couple of sentences (which is all I did yesterday.) Since I started this project, writing has become a life priority. The discipline it has taken to find time to write every day has evolved into a habit I never want to break. So if my writing gets bumped down to the bottom of my list of priorities for a while, you can be sure I will still be writing daily if only on a lesser scale.

Day 128 – Surprise yourself

Day one hundred twenty-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,200

Completely weary, I sat down at my laptop quite late tonight. I wanted to just go to bed. But I ignored that need notion and settled in front of the keyboard. Write, I told myself. Even if only a hundred words, write. Think about the story, keep your focus. Write.

1,200 words later, I’m now going to go to bed. Satisfied. Pleased with myself. Totally surprised that I pulled that out this late at night when I was so tired. Sure, I nodded off for a moment here and there. I even startled awake to find sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss across my screen. But that’s what the DELETE key is for. No harm, no foul. 1,200 words down (not including the string of ssss), and the story is continuing to move forward. Progress, when I could have easily just gone to bed and made none.

When you’re feeling like you don’t have it in you or you just plain don’t want to, go for it anyway. You might only manage a hundred words. But then again, you might just surprise yourself.

Day 98 – Finding time to write on the weekends

Day ninety-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 96, 97 and 98 combined: 2,200

Weekends are tricky. Every Friday night I have grand intentions to spend hours and hours writing over the weekend. I don’t have to go to work, so I should have a ton of free time to write. Right? Not exactly. What actually happens is I spend a lot of my weekend catching up on the things I let slide during the week. My house and my family all need my attention, something that is at a premium during the work week.

It’s difficult to find time to write on the weekends, and near impossible to find time when there are no distractions or interruptions. Every Sunday, I wonder how the weekend passed so quickly and how I didn’t find more time to write. Then I think about all of the things I did over the weekend and realize that I simply didn’t have much extra time. I was busy. All. Weekend.

Looking ahead to future busy weekends with the understanding that I want to find more time to write, I need to map out some time management scenarios. To really have an impact I think they will need to include some writing time outside of the home. Because when I’m home, I have a million other things I should be doing. When I’m writing, that is all I want to be doing.

Hopefully by next weekend I will have cooked up some ideas. Feel free to share any of your own tips or secrets to finding time to write on the weekends.

Day 63 – Why relax when you can write

Day sixty-three of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 750

Sunday seems like it ought to be the perfect writing day. Everything slows down, there are less obligations and the feeling of “I should be doing something else” is somewhat lightened. It is often the one day of the week when a person can really relax. Unfortunately, I’m a person who is on tilt most of the time. So when Sunday rolls around, I’m almost too ready to stop for a bit. That didn’t really happen for me today. It was a busy day bringing the kids to birthday parties, running errands, cleaning house, gardening and cooking. By the time I sat down to write tonight, I pretty much felt like lying down to watch paint dry.

I made myself write anyway. I just wanted to chill out and relax. It turned out, writing for a while was actually very relaxing for me. Now that I’m done for the night, I’m glad I made myself write. I do, however, think I need another Sunday.

Day 61 – When the flow of writing surprises you

Day sixty-one of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 1,200

When I sat down to write tonight, I wasn’t feeling up for a long session of writing. I told myself to just write a few sentences and see what happens. If I wrote anything at all, that was still something. The first 300 words were slow and forced. I decided I could stop there, but instead I just took a break and sat down again. Another 100 words. It was flowing a little easier. And then something clicked. Before I knew it, I was past 1,000 words and felt like I could continue writing for quite some time. If it wasn’t for the late hour, I would have.

This is the kind of writing I love, when the flow kicks in and I get lost in the story. My fingers type away almost involuntarily as my imagination takes off. I live for this. It’s what brings me back to the page tomorrow. I must remember the next time I’m not really feeling it that I just need to start writing and maybe something will click. Hope for the flow, and the rest will come.

Day 44 – Writing through the urge to take a break

Day forty-four of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Time: 2 hours

Words: 1,000

It took me about twice as much time to write 1,000 words than it normally does for the simple fact that I was having a tough time getting into the flow, and an even tougher time staying awake. But I pushed through. I wanted to write at least 1,000 words today and I did. Almost exactly on the nose. 

I had to push myself because I just wanted to go to bed. Interestingly, the scene I was writing also needed to be pushed through. I hit a part where I couldn’t decide where the story was going, so I hesitated. Then I wrote a little only to delete what I had written and started the part over. I did this a few times. It was a blip, a hurdle, a poorly placed speed bump. Honestly, I almost quit at that point. I figured I could pick it up and try again tomorrow. But I wrote through it and the scene developed into something better than I expected. 

While sometimes it is best to take a break when a kink in the flow presents itself, sometimes it works better to just write through it.