This week went much better than the last one. I still didn’t write every day (missed Thursday and Friday), but doing the actual writing and finding the time is starting to be easier.
I finished the short story I was working on. First time that’s happened in a few years I’m sad to say. But it was good to finally break the barrier. I’m already working on a second story and I’ve started notes on another novel. We’ll see if anything comes of that, but right now I’m only comfortable being at the noting stage.
What I have I learned so far?
For someone with a liberal arts background, I’m a pretty data driven guy. My way to get started writing each session is to think about the fact that I’m going to be creating a new data point in my writing tracking spreadsheet for this month. It gives me something to focus on other than the “oh shit” feeling of looking at a blank page.
I’ve also learned that making a word count writing goal for the month is an excellent way to keep me engaged with writing projects. Basically because I can use any writing project against the 10,000 word total, it gives me fluidity to move to different projects when I get board or tired of them. This month I’ve worked on four different projects including this blog.
This isn’t something I could do with a challenge like NaNoWriMo, which forces you to dedicate 50,000 words in one month on one novel. I’ve never done it despite the fact that it seems really cool because one project with that kind of word count goal feels way too constricting. If I missed one day because “I wasn’t feeling it,” I’m completely screwed because my average word count would be well past 2000 words a day too quickly. And as I said before, I can’t write that much in a day.
How am I pushing through hurdles?
In 2016 and 2017, I started tracking each day that I’d write. I build another spreadsheet that gave me a graph of how how may days I would write each month. The spreadsheets only tracked if I wrote and not how much. I’d set a goal of how many days I wanted to write for the year and never hit them.
After I started this challenge I created a yearly tracker for this year and was able to figure out when I wrote earlier this year. As it turns out I’ve already written more this year than I did all of last year. That’s a pretty heartening fact and It’s giving me the confidence to push through blocks because I want to see the graph for this month go up.
Another thing I’ve build is a Trello board for tracking all of my writing projects. (If you don’t know what Trello is, it’s a productivity app that lets you organize tasks anyway that works best for you and your project.) The way I have it laid out is each project is a card and each list is a part of the life cycle. This way I can track which story is just an idea, which one’s that I’m actually writing notes one, or which one’s I’m currently drafting.
I don’t work on that many projects at once, so again, this is manly for psychological effect, but it’s certainly working. I look forward to finishing a step so that I can move the story’s card to the next stage of the process.
All in all, how do I feel about it?
I need to figure out an effective way to write every day in a week regardless of what comes up. That, I think, is the overall goal of this challenge. But it looks like I’m one my way to cracking that mystery. We’ll see, I let you know how it goes next week.