#onemillionwords 2021 Week 4

Four weeks in and we’ve hit our first wall.

Sometimes life gets in the way of plans, especially when those plans are writing a book or several. When one sets out to write a book, the gods above throw every stupid and time-consuming obstacle they can in our way. Or maybe that’s just how it feels. Hell, I had so much thrown at me the last week of January I’m writing this post a week late. Better late than never, especially with things such as #onemillionwords. I keep having to remind myself it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Missing one week because life has decided to kick up her heels and fill the calendar with STUFF isn’t the end of it all. I won’t bore you with the details but it was a lot of adulting that I really did not want to do.

Quick recap for those that aren’t aware of what #onemillionwords is, CKnightwrites on Twitter sent out a text at the very end of 2020 announcing their goal of trying to write one million words in the upcoming year. From there, more than a hundred people piled onto this idea, and it became a sort of event. We’re a month in, and people are still just as hyped about it as they were on January 1st. The goal is to try and get 2740 words a day, 85,000 words a month written. This is also with the knowledge that very, very few will be able to reach the one million mark, but those that try and make some sort of progress, no matter how big or small, still wins.

During NaNoWriMo every year, I hit a wall causing me to fizzle out for the rest of the month. I usually start extremely well by hitting my daily word goal every day for two weeks. Then something comes along and throws off my groove. One year, smack dab in the middle of NaNoWriMo, I was working at my local Barnes & Noble and the store lost power. Just our store, not the little plaza it was in either. Two other managers and I had to stay until the electrician came because all our locks and alarms were on the grid that went down. It wasn’t until nearly 3:30 in the morning that we finally get our store-specific electrician on the phone after calling him at least two dozen times. It takes him over an hour to show up. By this point, the backup generators are depleted, and it’s November in New England. The three of us were huddled on a beanbag chair in the kid’s section for warmth.

In the end, the guy came and flipped a switch. A single little switch locked up in an electrical box that only the maintenance company B&N employed had a key to. We found out some of the switches in there if played with incorrectly could blow up like a small bomb. We had been waiting at that point for over six hours. Earlier in the night, while checking out a loud and off-putting noise, I broke my foot. By the time the electrician showed, I was limping and miserable. The noise, by the way, was the backup generator shutting off. None of us had heard it before so, we thought someone had broken in.

I ended up not getting home until closer to 5:30 in the morning after all was said and done. The next day was my day off, thankfully. The plan had been for every day off that month to meet up with fellow writer friends, remember this was in the before times, and sit down together at a local coffee shop or library. Suffice it to say I slept through my writer’s group and most of that day.

One day down the drain, and my NaNoWriMo that year was over. I probably only wrote an additional 5-6k words the rest of the month. Unfortunately, that’s how I’ve always been and only recently found out that this whole easily discouraged and quitting when the groove gets disrupted thing is a common ADHD trait. The amount of things I’ve learned about ADHD in the last two years is probably five times more than what I had learned the whole rest of my life since getting diagnosed at 6/7 years old.

That aside, I’m still writing and still making progress in #onemillionwords 2021. Part of this is a big thanks owed to the community. The chats may have quieted down some, and a few of us have paced ourselves a bit more now than in the beginning, but it’s still there and still amazing.

I usually give updates on how each of my projects are going. This week, I see no point in breaking it down as I have in the past. I added a few paragraphs here and then, made four different post-it notes reminding myself that I really need to outline some of the short stories still but haven’t thrown in the towel yet. I’m horrible at outlining. If anyone out there had some great tools for it, please comment with them below.
I let life sweep me up in all types of craziness, but that’s okay. I have a whole year to get stuff done. A little break now and again isn’t a bad thing. Learning to not give up is important too.

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