Still learning . . .

I’ve learned in January that, despite the forward momentum I want to maintain, and despite how cool it is to get 20k written in 2-3 weeks, I cannot maintain it. At least, I cannot maintain it and still continue to love what I’m doing.

I default into wanting hard absolutes. I don’t know if that’s the Libra influence or the Virgo influence (yay cusps!). I say things like, “I’m going to do XXX words a night,” and I leave myself no leeway. I tried to battle that by instead setting monthly goals rather than weekly ones, except doing that allowed me the freedom to write a huge bulk of my work on 3-4 days out of a three week period (Yes. around 18k in 3-4 days. Are we surprised I burned out?) while also allowing me to trick myself into thinking I’d been slacking off the whole time and accomplishing nothing. When I look at the numbers words, I’m actually on track.

I can’t work at the day job full time and then come home and write full time and not go insane. I have other interests. I want cuddle time with the critters, I want time to walk the dog. Nice long leisurely walks while the sun is shining (for that whole second) and while it’s not raining (oh, wait). I want to have the freedom to knit and to gorge on my reading stack and to work on letters (yes, I do correspond on paper. I have lots of paper) and study and meditate. I can’t do it all every day, but treating my writing as a second full time job isn’t working. It worked for a month (20k!) but now it’s a week later and I’m only starting to get excited about the project again. Three weeks on one week off is not my idea of sustainable.

The new attempt is: 300 to 1500 words a day, 4-5 days a week. Huge, huge number range there, and the cap is so that I can’t spend a few days churning out 4k plus and then render my arms and hands useless. Also, the flow depends a bit on . . . well. It’s like making sourdough. I need to leave some starter behind, for the next bit. If I write all I know about that particular bit, it can’t brew and steep and germinate. And so. Three hundred measely words means that even when I’ve got a pounding migraine I can trick my mind into accepting that I accomplished something.

Mind games. It’s all about mind games.


4 thoughts on “Still learning . . .

    1. Jolene

      Well, yes and no. At this point in the writing process — getting the story out for the first time — the important part is making progress despite working full time. I worry about “good enough to remain on paper” during the revision process. The way my novels go, I write the whole thing, watch the second 50k or so words die a horrible death as the story implodes. Then, like a pheonix from the ashes, the second half of the novel as it was meant to be rises up. I’ve got enough writing under my belt at this point that I’m pretty confident that most of what I write so far will remain . . . until I reach that dread second half, but I know the process will only make it better. (And who knows? This novel might be different. Yeah, yeah.)

  1. Lyra Rose

    The way I wrote my last novel was to do 1,000 words a day, 5 days a week. It worked really well and often I went over that–one day I hit 5k. I’m not sure how this one will do–I may try sticking to the same routine once I get going. I’m still in the character development/planning stages of the whole thing 😛

    1. Jolene Post author

      I suck at seeing all the comments in a timely manner. My new goal marks are working for me, for this. I’m going forward, and thats’ what matters most. I’m a bit overwhelmed (eleven other books waiting for their time) but I need to realize that, I’ll die with books waiting for their chance to be written. That list is *never* going to be done with. So, breathing is good.



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