Progress Update 12/3/15

Sometimes things go according to plan…

This past two weeks have not been my best for writing ritual. I really overcommitted this month to a variety of responsibilities. The upshot is that I spread myself too thin, and my writing habit has suffered. I’m reminded that even though creating a routine can be done in spite of busyness, filling one’s life with even more activity will inevitably make it harder to be consistent with the routine. It’s obvious, but still easy to forget, especially when a person starts getting good at their routine.

During the first half of this month, I rocked my writing ritual. I was very consistent. That consistency caused me to very casually take on more activities. I reached a critical mass of responsibilities. That’s when I got sick. (It’s amazing how often those two things coincide: overcommitment and then illness.) I needed more sleep to get well, and the time I used to sleep cut into my writing periods. After I got well, the Thanksgiving weekend rolled around. New obligations vied for my time, and again, my writing suffered. All this reminds me of how hard we must fight to protect that chunk of time we spend writing. If we don’t fiercely defend that ritual, it loses every time.

The upshot of all this: my participation in National Novel Writing Month really dried up during the second half of November. I’m sad about this. My final word count was 5637. This is a laughable attempt at the prescribed goal of 50,000. That said, I didn’t really think I’d make that amount because of how busy I was going into the month. (My decision to try NaNoWriMo was very last-minute.) Realistically, I figured I’d reach the 10,000 word mark, and if I hadn’t flaked out during the last two weeks, I would have reached my goal. Here are my key reflections on participating in NaNoWriMo.

  • Writing the daily target of 1667 words is very difficult for people with a full time job and other responsibilities. Based on my typical writing speed, this would take me about three hours, and at this point in my life, I really can’t spare three hours.
  • That said, I found 500 words very manageable. At this rate, I could have done 10,000 words. If I undertake the challenge next year, this will probably be my goal.
  • I have been reminded that it is crucial to guard my writing time. It’s also vital that if I miss a day or two, I get back on track as soon as possible. The longer we stay away from the routine, the harder it is to get refocused.
  • Most importantly, the first two weeks were a highly rewarding experienced that deepened my appreciation for daily writing habits. I know that I can be consistent in writing every day. 

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I will return to working on a book related to writing routines. I’m excited to get back to that.

I’d love to hear how you are doing. Do you have a book that you are working on? Please relate your experiences!