You don’t have to make progress every day, week, or even month to still be in the game.
Happy Friday and welcome to the end of the 5th week of #onemillionwords 2021. Why do I add the ‘2021’? Because if I live through this year, I’m trying this bull again in 2022 and possibly every year after until I die. This updates a bit late, really late, but better late than never.
Week 4 was sort of a bust when it came to writing. I don’t even think I was able to get 10k words to page let alone the 20k or so words needed to just break even but life happens. This week, thankfully, went a little differently. According to all my trackers, I’m very behind in each project and that’s okay. I made up some of it this week, just enough to get me jazzed once more about this whole experiment.
A quick recap on what #onemillionwords is for all new readers and taken from a previous update, CKnightwrites on Twitter sent out a text at the very end of 2020 stating their goal of trying to write one million words in the upcoming year. From their 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 win.
The last week of January was kind of a fail for me. I barely got any words in and lost a lot of time with adult responsibilities which caused all my creativity to fall into a rut. This past week, however, was slow going but there was progress. Progress, that was starting to build up steam again. I’ve never found 100% tried and true methods of getting myself out of a creative rut or a way to kill writer’s block but over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks to help both along. As I said, not 100%. They don’t work every time but that’s fine. That’s why I amassed so many tricks.
First, I read. I find a book that I know I’ll devour and I do just that. Usually, it’s a book by Kelley Armstrong or Seanan McGuire. Both are tried and true authors that I love. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough downtime to even crack a book. Another great trick I use that couldn’t be implemented this time was to just recite the entire plot so far to a friend or my husband enough times that they can either help me plot out a problem or I work it out a little bit as I talk.
My husband started his Spring classes the last week of January so he was out. My usual friend to vomit plot onto started her master’s program three weeks ago and thought it grand to do an accelerated study. Both are out for the time being.
Now onto the tricks that did work while having time restraints shackling my creative process. The one that worked the best, daydreaming. Literally, just daydreaming of a sort of fanfiction of my stories. Adventures where my character’s had enhanced powers or were hundreds of times more badass. Like the old superhero stories before modern narratives started focusing on actually giving their characters real personalities instead of stereotypes. I have no idea why this works but it does. I get hyped up for the story again. Sometimes this can take a few days of daydreaming but it’s worth it. It surprisingly is also great for working out rough spots in plotlines as a side effect.
A few other tricks I employed were scrolling through the writing community on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Be warned, it might be inspiring but it can backfire and become an endless scroll day. Or slowly building playlists that fit my current project. I work from home so I listen to a lot of music and have a habit of picking a ‘surprise me’ type playlist at random to listen to while I clean or cook or exercise. My brain is occupied thinking of the creative project and figuring out which song fits best. It kills two birds with one stone. When it works it’s a kick in the pants to get back into it and helps my mind stay occupied while I do some form of mindless physical activity. This was a modified technique to help me manage my ADHD I learned years ago.
Thankfully, these few tricks worked great. I was able to start the 5th week of #onemillionwords with some pep in my step. Just enough to start but that’s all I needed it seemed. A creative jump start.
How’s each project going you ask? Well, my six projects can be broken down into two categories; the good projects and the problem projects. The good projects, I have been able to breeze through those word counts, high fiving my muse and all that good stuff. The problem projects I end up sitting at my desk and just banging my head against a wall, no muse to be found. I’ve realized that these two categories will probably exist throughout the whole year. At some point, I’ll try to come up with wittier names for each.
Some days I’ll be more into writing Elven Urban Fantasy and others I’d rather write about a clueless Werewolf stuck in a fake/pretend relationship with his best friend. And sometimes I just want to do nothing but write about a queer barbarian lady with chronic pain. I really like writing Lucifiel.
Now that I have a little bit more downtime coming up my plan for the next week is to try and write 5k words a day to catch up on the words I missed last week. As well as outline three short stories for Lucifiel’s collection and at least some of each book I’m working on. I want to think I’m still a pantser but without even a very basic outline my writing goes off the rails. I think it works at the moment but it edits very hard. Yet, I have not found an outlining process I actually like. Good figure.
Got any outlining suggestions? Feel free to drop them in the comments!