Not a Robot


Here’s my latest writing update. As you can see, it’s not very consistent or prolific. I reached my goal of an hour a week only twice. And I’m frustrated that I made so little progress. I know I can do better. 

However, it was a difficult few weeks emotionally. Nothing happened, really, but I struggled again with being unemployed and with what I have been learning or should be learning. As much as I’ve loved a lot of the past few months in really unexpected ways, making what feels like little progress is frustrating, and I let that frustration overwhelm me and keep me from writing. 

So… Not as good as I hoped. At all. 

But: I am not a robot. I cannot expect myself to always feel like writing. I cannot expect myself to always write one hour, exactly, not one second more or less. I cannot expect myself to always write well, always be completely undistracted. I am not a robot. It’s okay if I don’t feel like writing, or if I need a day off. Yes, I would like to build writing into a more regular habit, and yes, not feeling like writing isn’t always an excuse to not write. Yes, absolutely, and I am working to write more consistently. That’s why I post these updates. But, as I work towards building this habit, sometimes I need to remember to give myself a little grace, instead of being frustrated that I’m not perfect. 

Give yourself a little grace. You’re not a robot, either.

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Writing Challenge, Week 2

Time for another check in on my writing challenge!

Tuesday: 20 minutes

Wednesday: 60 minutes

Thursday: 35 minutes

Friday: 10 minutes

Saturday: 0 minutes

Sunday: 35 minutes

Monday: 0 minutes

I reached an hour of writing on one day! That was the best feeling ever. 

As you can see, I still struggled with writing every day, and with writing for a long time every day. Again, I’m disappointed that I didn’t write more, but it is more than I wrote last week. I also spent a decent amount of time doing writing preparatory work: researching publications, researching topics, and typing up what I wrote (I often handwrite first drafts). I’m still not where I’d like to be, but I am improving. It doesn’t feel like it, but I am. 

It’s funny how recording what I’ve done changes how I see it. I can see patterns–all the days I didn’t write much were days I didn’t write in the morning, for instance. I can see that there has been improvement from last week, even though it doesn’t feel like it–which also means that I can see clearly that I’m not where I’d like to be yet. 

Here’s to another week of improvement.

What have you been writing this week?

Writing Challenge, Week 1

Week one of my writing challenge, done. Here’s what I did:

Tuesday: 40 minutes

Wednesday: 30 minutes

Thursday: 30 minutes

Friday: 0 minutes

Saturday: 0 minutes

Sunday: 0 minutes

Monday: 30 minutes

As you can see, I didn’t fulfill my goal of writing an hour a day even one day this week–no ice cream for me. 😦 And I’m disappointed. I let myself get discouraged after Tuesday, when various important things came up and I tried to write an hour and just couldn’t do it. I let myself get discouraged after Friday, when for no good reason I didn’t write at all. I’m disappointed that I let other things get in the way of writing, from important things like meetings and bodily needs to empty things like Netflix and games on my phone. 

But it’s also been really great. I’ve finished more writing projects doing this challenge than I have in the past two months. I’ve loved the feeling of sitting down and having a goal to work towards, and having that motivate me to keep writing and keep writing. I’ve loved the feeling of having a completed article in front of me, especially one that was challenging to write. I’ve had something to work towards, and I’ve been working towards it as well as working towards redeveloping better work habits. I’ve been focusing more, and even though this wasn’t nearly the amount of writing that I wanted to accomplish, it’s more than I have been getting done. It’s definitely helped.

Here’s to another week of writing! I hope to reach my goal this week!!

How about you? How’s your writing going this month?

Beautiful People

My absence here is indicative of a wider problem I’ve had over the past month, that is, a huge difficulty writing. Writing has seemed like a huge, terrifying, impossible task, complete with snarling, snapping teeth and horrifying consequences for failure. As much as I’d like to say that I’m just like a fantasy hero, never giving up, that is so not true. I’m very prone to giving things up when they seem difficult or impossible. 

But some things are worth coming back to–and writing is one of them. Writing felt like climbing up a sheer cliff with no equipment, but not writing made everything else in my life go more than a little flat, made everything else seem impossible, too. If I couldn’t do this thing that I love, persevere through it, what could I do? was going through my head, just below the conscious level. 

But now I’m back. I’ve been journalling consistently (always the first step in my own writing process), and I spent time writing both yesterday and today. Small steps, but important and beautiful ones. Everything else I need to do seems possible again.

And so, in the spirit of the newly-possible, I thought I’d jump late on the bandwagon and link up with Beautiful People and write about my writing resolutions and goals for the new year.

  

What were your writing achievements last year?

Last year was really the first year that I took my writing seriously–I both committed to and actually achieved taking time to write every day. I started this blog. And, finally, I was published in a few places–DevoZine and various Pittsburgh Theological Seminary publications come immediately to mind–and discovered a lot more places wher I’d love to be published in the future.

Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

I really don’t have one; rather, I’d like to focus on getting myself out there and published in as many publications as possible.

List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

I’d like to become better at focusing when I write (rather than jumping to the internet as soon as I run into a problem), using my time well so that I have as much time to write as possible, and taking chances with my writing (both in the writing itself, and in where I submit and query to).

Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I’m not currently planning to, no.

What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

I have one beta reader, and while I would love to expand their numbers, I don’t have any plans to do so currently. Hopefully something will come up!

Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I’m sure at some point this year I’ll reread Walking on Water by Madeleiene L’Engle, which is absolutely my favorite writing book of all time. I have a few other writing books floating around, which I may read sporadically. We’ll see! As to research, yes, there are some topics I’d like to research, but we’ll see if I get to them or not. As much as there are some stories I’d love to write, it doesn’t always work out that I get the time to write all the stories II have ideas for. Or inspiration leaves at inconvenient times. 

Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

His name is Skylar. I know what he does, but the why is a bit sketchy, and I think he comes across flat because of that. As to how? I think some rewrites are in order, plus maybe some character exercises. We’ll see. I find that I discover people by just writing their scenes, but, then again, that hasn’t worked for him at all…

Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I may query for smaller articles or stories, but I currently have no plans to do anything for my novel-in-progress. As for editing: perhaps, although I suspect that the novel still won’t be done by the end of 2016.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

Writing books with more female characters, especially in fantasy, is a huge passion of mine. I’d also like to write Christian fiction that actually acknowledges the complexity and pain in the world, rather than glossing over it or giving easy answers. (I’m sure such fiction does exist, and suggestions in the comments would be much appreciated!)

What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

Hm. I hope to keep being brave about writing–just doing it even when it’s hard, and to keep sending out submissions even when I get rejected, or even when it’s in a genre I’m not sure I can do. On that note, I’d like to focus a bit more on getting fiction and poetry published. Last year I tended more towards non-fiction, which I love but isn’t my ultimate goal.

More than anything else, I hope to have achieved what God is calling me to achieve, because God is the true source of my writing. Maybe God will throw all my plans out the window! And that’s OK.