Further and Further Behind

Here is instance where my goals are a detriment to my success. I am right in the first week of CampNaNoWriMo and have decided to undertake it just as I would NaNoWriMo in November. 50,000 words. That’s right – fifty with a thousand attached. July is one of the slower months for my career, so I envisioned an ideal writing situation. Leave work, head to gym, home to shower and eat, then write for the remainder of the night. TheWife and I even cancelled our television to reduced distractions (and excessive bills). I thought it a pretty perfect opportunity. However, the truth is in the…well, I am not sure how that saying goes. I would say that the proof is in the pudding, but I cannot eat pudding as it goes against my nutrition and exercise plan. So for me, the facts are in the failure. I have written somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 words since July 1st, well off of the pace that I had set for myself. I need to average 1,800 words a day to near my goal and have been shooting for 2,000+ to ensure that I surpass it. That has obviously not happened. This weekend was a prime opportunity for me to make headway and get caught up on my lackadaisical efforts thus far. I failed. I have come full circle to where I started this blog – filled with the fear of writing. I have gone from a rough idea for a novel, to really fine-tuning my plot structure, to filling in some holes with new antagonists and arcs, to staring at my computer screen with nothing but dread to put fingers to keys. I have read other blogs like Lauren’s WriteCity which dole out useful advice and motivation. I read these posts, saying “Yes! That is it! That is what I need to do to get words on the page.” And yet, here I am. I read this article about writing by hand and how your brain works differently than if you were typing. The association for word choice is improved with longhand while with typing, your brain in simply recalling which key to press next. I think that there may be validity to that on some level, but I feel daunted by the thought that I would need to write my story by hand, and then transcribe it, and then edit it. Computers are meant to make these sorts of endeavors easier – I think that I am just looking for excuses. I do not know what to do really. Should I do warm up exercises to get garbled words out of my head – to give me some clarity and focus and set a pace for that day’s session? Should I try using something like DragonSpeak and see if dictating my story would be easier (after all, we are telling a story, so perhaps an oral approach would be beneficial)? I feel as though I have just entered a cornfield and no matter where I look, I am smack dab in the middle of a confusing and endless situation.

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6 Responses

  1. Drewski! I get it… I really really do! So after I read this today I jumped right up and ran to my Stuck Stack knowing that the next one was destined to be for YOU!
    “The first draft of anything is shit” ~ Ernest Hemmingway

    So it doesn’t matter what the hell you write right now (haha say that 10 times fast)… just write something and then as your fingers flow over the keys it will get better and turn into what you are looking for. You have no idea how many of my chapters begin with a frustration… something like “Stupid fingers just start typing something!!!” or “Why the f**k am I doing this I don’t think I can write a book.” But then the next sentence begins to take form and the next after that… then I’m off and running.

    Until I hit another wall. Then comes the repeat of the frustrated sentences… It is a vicious cycle.

    Also, I love the blogs about how to improve writing just as much as you do. But after you read them, at the end of the day, you still have to write.

    So what I’m trying to say is… get out of your head and write! 🙂

    1. wordrew

      You aren’t joking about that quote SBraddy! Hemingway is my man, it is just unfortunate that I decided to write while being on this nutrition plan, otherwise I could have embrace my other favorite Hemingway quote, “Write drunk, Edit sober.”

      That whole ‘get out of my head thing’ is the truth. 100%. I would be the worlds best construction worker – just give me a passion and a goal, tell me to start, and will build the sturdiest and largest wall you have ever seen.

      Thank you for your words. You are the greatest. Like, dedication-page-great.

  2. Yes. To every suggestion you mentioned. In some cases product is less important than productivity.

    Lauren and I both have times where we vomit up pages and pages of utter crap before something good came of it. Try dragon. Try handwriting. Continuing the act of writing will help you as much as doing a crappy workout — on schedule — will help you. Teach your mind/body a rhythm and it’ll stick… like a proof in pudding.

    1. wordrew

      Setsu, thank you for the confirmations. This blog has definitely helped me sort through my thoughts, sometimes a little too stream-of-conscience and most times lacking in the editing stages. But I guess that is my blog voice.

      I have done a few things already to help progress me along – going as far as downloading the DragonDictate app for my iPad, but it isn’t picking up half of the words that I am speaking. If I explore DragonSpeak for my laptop, I will have some major training time with it to understand unique names and the other sundries that come with fantasy writing.

      Thank you for the encouragement! Your blog is def a big help!

  3. Hey Drew! Okay, just hear me out…I think you might be being just a bit hard on yourself. 4,000 words in two weeks is actually nothing to sneeze at. Seriously. I’m a super slow writer and I crank out 1,000 words a week–IF I’m lucky. And I’ve written four novels. The words do add up. I think you’re actually doing really great. You have not failed. In fact, it looks like you’re just discovering what does and does not work for you. But please keep in mind that 4,000 words is AWESOME. It really, really is.

    And I loved this post. I totally agree with you–at the end of the day, you still have to write. Let’s soldier on!

    1. wordrew

      Lauren, you plain out rock! I am going to write tonight because of your encouraging words. The expected pace that I have set is directly related to kicking all of this off with CampNaNoWriMo. I want to get to 50k so damn badly this month. I am going to fight my way through if at all possible. I also have a few flights ahead of me for work, and I usually get words on the page while in the air.

      Thank you for sharing your process with me. I have always known inside that every author writes differently and that the process of discovering one’s own process is, in some regards, what makes them an actual writer. Not the publishing. Not the marketing and movie rights. The discovery of voice, tone, style – all of that. That is what makes a person a writer.

      So I am still a fledgling. But your encouragement as well as others, is that proverbial kick in the ass that is sending me spiraling out from the nest.

Please, let me know what you think.

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