About three weeks ago two things were winding down: the second draft of my book and the year of 2018. I had hoped to have the draft done before Christmas, but as Dec. 25th drew closer and the stress mounted, I decided to push the goal back to New Year’s. Of course I got a little too comfortable with the extension and found myself racing to finish the draft before heading out to my New Year’s Eve party on Dec. 31st. I ended up being a little late to the party, but it was worth it. I really wanted to leave draft 2 of my novel in 2018, and I’m pleased to say that I was able to do that.
The beginning of December marks the end of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for many writers. For those of you who don’t know, writers participating in NaNoWriMo make the goal to write 50,000 words in a month (aprox. 1,666 words/day). I am definetly a goal-oriented person, so you can see how a challenge like this might appeal to me. However, I am rewriting my book, not writing a first draft like most people in the challenge, so the 50,000 word goal didn’t really make sense for me. Still wanting to join in on the comradery, I decided to challenge myself to simply work on my rewrites every day.
For a long time it felt like my paying jobs were always at odds with my writing. I felt as though the two parts of my life were always battling for my time and interest. Both were important and fulfilling to me, but seemed to be in opposition of each other. It often felt like my paid jobs were robbing my creative pursuits, but I was the one organizing the entire heist. The relationship between my jobs and my writing has always turbulent and a bit paradoxical, but over the last few weeks of working more hours than I ever intended, my creative frustration came to a breaking point and the writing slowed to a stop. The jobs weren’t going away and neither was my writing, so I knew that I needed to figure out how to balance these two parts of my life.
It’s been about five months since I committed to writing seriously, so I want to spend a little bit of time reflecting on those five months in this post. In particular, I want to take a look at my ongoing relationship with the concept of productivity and the guilt that goes along with it.
Some of the earliest and most prevailing advice I’ve heard about writing is to do with the importance of reading. Every class, every book, and every writer have had the same advice. It seems to be the one thing that all writers agree on: good writers are good readers. This week the importance of this advice dawned on me.
A few weeks ago I had my first, real experience with making a financial sacrifice for my writing. I couldn’t begin this post without acknowledging the many blessings that do I have (a job, somewhere to live, the ability to support myself, etc. etc.), but I want to spend some time taking about my experience with the financial side of figuring out what it means to be a writer. To begin, I don’t know if I can truly call this instance a sacrifice (I didn’t really give up anything tangible), but it did signal a sacrificial shift in how I think about the future of my writing. That reality check is what I want to get into today.
When I was planning my writing routine in the last few weeks before I graduated, I had some grandiose ideas about how I was going to structure my new-found writing time. One of those ideas was to work on two projects at once. I knew that I absolutely wanted to work on my novel-sized project–I had been chipping away at it for years– but I also wanted to work on some shorter-length projects at the same time.
I used to think that writer’s block was a sorry excuse for laziness, and I thought that the answer to overcoming writer’s block was will-power. Now I think there’s more to it than that.
This week I read through Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It was a quick read about creativity, and Kleon had some insightful thoughts. In particular the section on having hobbies got me thinking. Here’s what Kleon says: Continue reading “On Having Creative Hobbies”
I finished the coursework for my degree in English and Medieval Studies on April 12, 2018. That was just over a month ago. Since finishing, I’ve been trying to find my new post-undergrad routine. Here’s how it’s going:
The first week or so was a bit of a crap-shoot in terms of writing. At the beginning of April, when I was writing my twenty-five page, seminar paper on Cecily Neville, all I wanted was to write creatively. I wanted it so badly that it became the almost-heavenly light at the end of the academic tunnel. I was so consumed with the pursuit of finding writing time, that I didn’t exactly know what to do with it when I finally got it after handing in my last assignment. Continue reading “The First Few Weeks and the Purple Dress”