18/03/18: 1558. Not a ton of writing done volume-wise, but had a fantastic brainstorming session with my friend with whom the co-writing is being done; she really helped me with a few key things I was really stuck with character-wise, and gave me a fantastic idea to work with in my current episode. I’m weirdly paranoid about using people’s actual names on this blog, but to said friend: thanks again, you are epic.
And then we played D&D, which I have not played since I was 18 and my useless at-the-time-best-friend was DMing and totally put me off for the next however many years. This time it was my co-writing partner’s boyfriend DMing, and the whole process was incredibly fun and engaging, even though most of it was just creating characters – I really do enjoy creating characters, in writing, acting and gaming, and D&D mixes all of that together. I’m pretty sure my character is nothing close to optimised, and as somebody who has spent a not inconsiderable length of time filling Word documents with homebrew revisions to the 5E ranger class over the past two years, I am pleased to find that I am very, very happy about this. It’s a great bunch of people, our characters already have pretty awesome chemistry, and there’s another player yet to join us. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out! I might even go back to my D&D-inspired project off the back of this wave of enthusiasm.
19/03/18: 1594. A bit slower this week – however, to be fair, last week was very full-on, as I was striving to make up for lost time. It’s not the kind of performance I expect myself to put out every week, or even for one week every month. It was just a very nice bonus.
20/03/18: 1011. Finished up a difficult scene with the co-writing project that I’m still not happy with, but I reminded myself that it’s not about being happy with it at this stage, just about getting it done. I was going to do some writing of my own projects today, which did not happen, but I haven’t written anything on Tuesdays since I started this Weekly Words thing until today, so I’m going to focus on the progress that I have made instead of dwelling on things I wanted to do but didn’t.
21/03/18: 141. Hey, I wrote this Tuesday, so slumming it today feels fair. And it was even one of my own projects.
Here’s the reason why I didn’t write more: I realised that everything that was happening up to this point seemed more like a second book than a first. The main character is losing all of their stuff, which we haven’t seen them gain, so there’s no sense of significance – that needs to change. And a lot of things need to change in general. Yesterday I made myself embrace just writing the goddamn thing and not caring about it being good; today I’m realising that one of the reasons the co-writing thing is working so well is because my friend and I actually spent about a month plotting the entire season out before we started writing. Yes, we have certainly deviated from that plan in some quite major ways, but that’s not a testament to the quality of the plan. For me, it’s the fact that there is a plan, not what the plan is specifically, that helps. That and having someone else for accountability, which honestly is the big thing – but yes. I need to make a plan, break it down into manageable chunks, and then write it. I’m finding that, with regards to the whole planner/pantser thing, I can do either, but at this point in my life I am leaning hard towards planning, and I think I just need to do some of that for this book, and my other unfinished projects that I still haven’t gotten started on since I said I was going to recently. It could be that it doesn’t actually make a difference and I’m just overreacting to a lack of inspiration tonight, but I do know that the co-writing project is so much easier to write because there is a plan for me to follow whenever I sit down to write it, so I’m theorising that it will make things easier for me with my own projects if I also have a plan for them.
23/03/18: 2494. Well, I guess this balances out last week’s marathon effort; this week I’ve just felt pretty lacklustre in general. But hey, I wrote on a Tuesday for a change, and I had the same number of writing sessions this week as I have for all the others so far, so I’m not worried. I think my word-count goal of 10k words per week is a nice ambitious one, and one that I am going to hope for – but I also think that cramming in a bunch of extra words just for the sake of making up numbers is not as important as establishing a persistent, regular habit, and writing almost every day every week is that, regardless of how much is actually written during those sessions.
24/03/18: 6798. Wow, good thing I just said all that stuff disavowing the importance of actually meeting my weekly word-count goals, huh.
I’m not bothered. It’s been a pretty decent week in other areas; last week was very good for me, both in terms of writing and in terms of exercise, two areas that I’m really trying to focus on improving my consistency with this year. I can feel the threat of a slump coming, the low to last week’s high, but everything resets tomorrow, and that’s all right. I actually wonder if part of it had to do with playing that D&D session – it put me in a totally different headspace, and while I think that was a good thing, it definitely took my focus away from keeping up the writing.
But I also think it’s just a sign that I need to adjust to not having emotional fuel to rely on. Last week I was very motivated and energised; this week, not so much. Sat on my laurels a bit, let my indecision and lack of clear, appealing options lead me, and generally let my feelings – or lack thereof – take the reins. Well, that’s an important lesson. I do need a plan. Not just for each individual project I want to work on, but on what I’m going to write every day. I actually did have a plan yesterday and didn’t follow through with it, so that’s going to be my plan for Monday, or perhaps after the co-writing meetup tomorrow.
And no, last week’s more-than-60%-of-my-word-goal doesn’t “carry over”. Each week is a reset; I want to hit that word-count goal every week. I’m not going to agonise over it if I don’t, but I am going to try and see what I need to do in order to change it the next week. And I’m sure there will come a time where there’s nothing I can do, because life happens, and I do just need to write off a week. But last week wasn’t a write-off. It was a series of decisions to make things easy for myself. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that I do have a goal that I want to keep hitting, and a promise that I made to myself at the start of this year, even if it doesn’t feel as immediate and crucial as it did in the moment. I need to get one of my books written this year. I need it. This co-writing project is not one of my books. I’m still enjoying it and looking forward to the revision process when it comes, but I have been neglecting my own work because it’s been so easy to work on. Well, this week it wasn’t as easy, and I think I needed a plan for leaning on my own work to pick up the slack.
I think it needs to be an open plan, too. Something clear and precise, but not rigid and overly specific – I don’t think “I will work on project X today” is good enough, because that shit is going to bore me to death long before those projects ever get written that way. I need something like a daily writing challenge to myself, and to use my existing projects to meet it. Any of them. A “write a scene where X happens” sort of deal. Or even looking at writing prompts in preparation. And I do think that I need to make plans for my projects as well. I work better with a plan. I can use them for self-generated writing-prompts, like “write the plot-twist” or “introduce the main antagonist” or something like that.
On the other hand that does sound like a lot of work – but hey, this is all about getting used to doing regular work. And I did at least write regularly this week, so that’s part of why I don’t feel too broken up about the word-count. That’s a realistic goal, regular writing. Perhaps 10k per week is not realistic for me; I had some great momentum and excitement to begin with, but that’s the same as any new project, and inevitably the novelty wears off. Going forward, commitment and creativity are going to have to be my batteries.
But for now, the time to reflect has ended. The time to continue is about to begin. And in the meantime, I just wanna chill. That’s what Saturdays are for, right?
That’s not a rhetorical question; I don’t really integrate with society so I actually have no clue what most people do on Saturdays. Comments welcome.