Date: November 16, 2010
Goal Word Count: 26,667
Current Word Count: 19,650
Holy crap. I am behind. So during my last report, things were already flagging. This past week, I kept coming up short – 300, 600 words short – and the next day always felt worse. I was happy to be at least LESS behind than I was the day before, but never quite caught up.
Then, I had that paper due Friday that needed major rethinking/reworking.
Then, I had an 8 page paper to write for my literature class.
I had a limited amount of time and an unlimited amount of stress, and I made the executive decision to abandon novel writing until today, 11/16/2010. And I’m also trying to toss back 150 pages of Louisa May Alcott and a critical article before 3:30 today… so yeah.
Turning in my paper yesterday afternoon felt like crawling out of a cave. I don’t even want to get into the details of how I wrote this paper, but let’s just say it was a brief, excruciating process that involved installing LeechBlock onto my browser. At any rate, I hit the “send email” button and immediately suited up for a run. The sky was completely gray, I was the only one running, I was really sweaty even though it was kind of cold, and I couldn’t tell if my stomach was empty or full and I generally felt weird. I felt like crap. The feeling continued on into the night, like I didn’t want to even deal with all the shit in my life I’d been putting off in order to complete my schoolwork.
This morning felt better, but I’m still a little hazy. So I’m thinking about two things:
1) Daily habits are really important, even if they don’t seem particularly effective. If you wake up and sit down with your writing every day, first thing in the morning, then your mind is moving in the right direction, even if the words come slowly or you feel crappy or your mind just goes numb – at least you are going through the motions. My mind
should must be ready to start writing today, now that I am out of the cave, but because I let go of “the motions,” it’s like my body and my habits have to readjust. It’s exactly like trying to exercise again after taking a few weeks off – you had good reasons for skipping the gym, and you were okay with your choice, but as soon as you start up again, it’s like your body and lungs didn’t get the memo that it was “okay” to take a break. They still hurt and it’s still harder than it would have been if you’d kept up the motions.
2) Going into a cave is not something I knew I could do, really. I’m a consummate multi-tasker. I juggle a lot of baskets, and not just since grad school. I’ve always been a basket juggler. And I thought that it made me happy, in a Renaissance Woman kind of way, but there was something elementally satisfying about turning off the world to write that stupid paper. I shut off other priorities, one by one. Class reading? Gone. NaNo? Sorry. Cooking? Take out. Laundry? I can pick through piles of clothes for a week. Socializing? No. No. No.
And I got it done. I’m not going to make any guesses about my grade, but the work did get done.
This seems like a useful skill to develop. It’s kind of fun juggling baskets, but I worry that it’s not great if you want to get SIGNIFICANTLY better at something. And I would like to get significantly better at writing fiction.
Feeling: Out of sorts
Moody Author Photo: