Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Hard Way

I wanted to write a novel in a hundred days.

I started in December, oh about sixty days ago.

So, I am 60% through the novel?

Um, no.

I'm not even a quarter of the way through the novel yet.

But I have learned something.

I can't change my whole writing technique overnight. I really thought with a good helping of determination, and cheering on from my friends, I could just sit down and write 1000 words a day. No problem. Guess what? I can't. At least not consistently.

It's tempting to beat myself up about this. Tell myself how lazy and horrible I must be. But that's not helpful. Besides, it has nothing to do with laziness. It has to do with changing ingrained habits and learning to turn off (or at least turn down) the inner editor. It's not as easy as I thought.

Instead I have adjusted my goals to allow time for change. For now, I just want to write a little more each week than I did the week before. For January, this worked pretty well. I went from 7.5 pages the first week to 10.5 pages, to 13 pages, to 19 pages. Not bad.

Last week totally kicked me in the teeth with a rotten illness, but I still managed 11 pages. Considering how bad I felt, I counted it as a victory.

This week? Well, I'm ready to take it on!

And you know something? I'm still going to have this novel finished way faster than I've ever finished before, even if it's not as fast as I'd hoped.


L.T. Elliot said...

Way to go, Angie!

I think it's so easy to make goals and then kick ourselves to death if we don't meet the goals we hoped we could. Progress is progress and that's definitely something to celebrate. If we're better today than we were yesterday, if we keep trying when we feel like giving up, that's real success to me. That's beyond progress. That's refinement.

Donna K. Weaver said...

*hugs* Real life does that to us sometimes. Doesn't mean we shouldn't set goal to strive for. Just don't beat yourself up when real life pulls the rug out from under you. lol

Brenda Sills said...

Wow, you sound a lot like me! I seriously want to write faster and I'm hoping to figure it out as I get ready to start my next book. Your experiences sound so familiar—thanks for the inspiration!

Rocky said...

Way to keep going! It's great that you're setting goals, and it's also wonderful that you're learning to adjust as you go along. Sometimes, adjusting can be the hardest part. :)

Carolyn V said...

I love that we can change our goals if we find they aren't working for us. And Woohoo on getting done so faster than planned! That's just awesome Angie!

Terry W. Ervin II said...

Sometimes it takes time for a story to emerge, even as we sit and write.

Just keep making forward progress and you'll get there, maybe a little later than you'd hoped, but you'll still make it. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

This is wonderful! Look how far your'e getting! After six books, I tried the 1,000+ words a day, and I did it. Then I did it again for the next book, and now I'm on the next one, and I'm doing it again. It took awhile to get to that point, but I'm able to do it now. One of the things that helps me a TON is I take the weekends completely off, and I actually set the goal of 2,000 words every two days instead of a 1,000 a day. That way I can write 500 one day if I'm not feeling up to it, and 1,500 the next day since I didn't push too hard the day before. Not sure if that would work for you, but it sure is good to push ourselves! I wish you the best of luck. :)

Angie said...

Thanks, Terry!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Don't kick yourself. I think that reassessing a goal is a healthy part of goal making. If the goal's not working, make a new and improved one that does work for you.
Way to go on your page counts!!!

Kami McArthur said...

Yeah keep going! Mine is taking a lot longer than I hoped as well. But you know what? It's not a race. And it's still going to be awesome when it's done.

Angie said...

Thanks, Kami. That's very true. Good luck with yours too!

Renae Weight Mackley said...

I can relate to the 'turn down the inner editor' all too well. We all have our things to deal with and ways to do it. My best writing days are when I already know where the story it heading (at least in that section). Keep up the good work! It all adds up.