I’ve talked before about the importance of knowing thyself, and of honoring that. Of working with that, because when you know yourself, and your habits, your strengths and your weaknesses, when you are honest about these things, you are better able to achieve your goals. We are not set up very much, in mainstream society, in our mainstream culture*, to honor knowing ourselves much. We are instead encouraged to let mainstream culture tell us who and what we are, what our values are, what our morals should be, what our ideas of health and happiness and love should look like, what our goals ought to be, etc. Any one of you whose ideas about any little thing that do not mesh with what society has decided should be will know what I’m talking about, because you feel that pressure. You feel that surprise from others. You know. Thinking for ourselves, bucking the status quo, these things are not encouraged, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s so easy to forget the things you know from time to time. It isn’t surprising to me that, as I go along in life, I lose sight of what I know, and I thus fail to honor said knowledge.
I learned last year (the year I wrote 100k worth of words on fiction, the first time I’ve done THAT MUCH fiction writing in one year in over a decade) what works for me. What works for me? Doing the bulk of my weekly progress goal on my one day home alone. I didn’t write much at all between May and August, either. I got a huge amount done on one novel in the beginning of the year, more done one the current WiP during the second half of the year, and I took November off to work on the NaNo project.
During NaNo, I’ll admit it: I became addicted to the ever increasing word count. I completed 45k additional words on that project (thus ultimately not “winning”, but I cannot be anything other that pleased with the success of last year in terms of getting material onto the page) and I enjoyed it.
I set goals for 2014. Ultimately: get the three(ish) books ofthe current series onto the page. Churn out material. Pull back from trying to get my name out there in more markets that it’s currently in. And I didn’t exactly forget those goals, but I did use November’s word counts as a blueprint. With that pace in mind, I could easily have the three books out of me and onto the page by April, May at the latest.
And for the entire month of February? Nothing. No words. Writing became a chore, again. Drudgery.
NaNo was fun. I’m likely to even do it again, although I’m looking at September or August instead of November to have my own little novel writing month. (JoNoWriMo!) I wish I could say that writing EVERY DAY brings me joy, that writing every day fulfills me. It doesn’t. Writing EVERY DAY is drudgery. It takes the joy, the excitement away. It’s possible that I need that anticipatory build up. It’s possible that I need the time away to figure out what’s coming next. Whatever the reason, I have not written ~ 90k words since August of last year by writing every day. I wrote that much since last August by focusing the bulk of my writing on my one day home alone during the week, and by clearing that day so that I am able to spend 5-8 hours simply writing. This is what works for me. So, I’m going to go back to honoring that.
I’m also discovering the importance of mini-goals when it comes to novel writing. I need more dangling carrots than simply reaching the end of the story; the process is too lengthy, and it’s too easy to decide I’m failing because it’s “taking so long” to get there. I’ve introduced mini goals, and they have tangible rewards. Like, new books. Reaching 45k enabled me to purchase two e-books. 60k will earn me another. I’m thinking every 15k will result in a book or some other $10 or less treat.
Yes. Any excuse is a good excuse. What?