Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Challenges Continue

Well, I'm doing moderately worse this week, but at least I have stuff to show you from the conclusion of last week.

The "writing for an hour and getting at least 500 words" daily goal seems to really be working for me. That is, when I get to writing.

Yup. Got a few Zero Days under my belt.

Still, as of right now I'm still holding on to my New Years Resolution of "no more than three in any given week". Well, holding on since I started the challenge. We're ignoring January existed.

Last week I did fantastically with the daily writing hour. Every day, 4pm to 5pm. Then I was stuck at work during my writing hour last Thursday. I managed to get two hours of writing in while working on the blog post, but I was too drained to write anything creative. One Zero Day. Friday I was just mentally shut down. I tried to write, but three hours later I still only had about 300 words. It wasn't a Zero Day because I accomplished SOMETHING; made the effort. Still, I was now behind about 700 words in my creative writing. Luckily, Wednesday's writing frenzy more-or-less covered those two days.

Saturday I was home alone most of the day, so I was able to finally finish the rest of the chapter I was working on for X-Future: The Second Generation Begins. I still had one more day left in the week, and so for Sunday's writing hour I cranked out the writing prompt story for this Tuesday's writing group. I honestly had no clue where I was going with that story. That was pure channeling. I just placed my fingers on the keyboard and let them do their thing. Still, I like what resulted from that.

If you were interested, you can see both new bits of writing I managed this week below.
"The Second Generation Begins:
Getting Into (Pseudo) Trouble"

"Own Little City"

After a mostly successful week, you'd think I'd be riding the momentum into another one, right? Yeah, me too.

Monday ended up being cleaning and errands day, followed by celebrating Shadow's birthday. I ended up not having the hour - or even fifteen minutes - to spare so I could work on the start of the next chapter. If you don't count last Thursday because I was at least writing this blog, Monday was my first official Zero Day since I started this challenge. Quickly followed by a second one.

Ironic that I ended up not doing any writing on the day I go to my writing group. I got home from work, had a few hours before Hubby needed to be home, had every intention of writing, and then Shadow asked me to call. Thinking it was a quick catch-up on what we were discussing the night before, I complied. Next thing I know, I only have a half-hour before Hubby would be done with work, and I was still in my own work clothes. I rushed around to get a quick shower, and then out the door I went.

Got home a few minutes after my daily writing hour started, but both Hubby and I - who neglected lunch due to the phone call - were starved. Once dinner was done and a few more neglected chores were taken care of, it was time for me to get to the writing group meeting. I honestly can't recall what kept me from writing when I got home, though. I know I hid in my room for the next hour in an attempt to still keep my daily writing. I'm pretty sure I spent the entire time instead chatting with Cyhyr online. I was trying to get her to poke her husband Ronoxym into doing one of three things:
  1. Send me his prose. At the beginning of the year, when I was setting up my challenges with everyone, I sent Ron the challenge to complete one piece of prose per month. It could be a one-shot, a chapter, a scene, even a section of dialogue. I didn't care how large or small the prose was, I just wanted to see him complete SOMETHING every month. Last I chatted with him, Ron said he was ready to send me something by the end of January, and yet....
  2. Send me his challenge. Since I sent him the above challenge, along with a few other writing stipulations to try to help him focus, Ron wanted to send me a year-long challenge in response. According to him, he has one already in mind for me, but it was too long and complex to try to send to me while on his phone. He was supposed to send it to me once he got to a computer, but it's a month later and still no challenge. Probably for the best considering how behind I am on my current challenges.
  3. WORK ON PLEASE, LET ME EXPLAIN. Any form of "work." Write more, edit what I sent him, fix the outline, edit the middle section that has been waiting for almost a YEAR to be polished and published. I'd take anything....
Apparently, Ron wasn't really focused on writing at all last month; too busy trying to find alternative means of getting money - legally, I feel the need to add. It's a noble alternative to recreational writing, but the way he's going about attempting to get more money....
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comics
Anyway, as Cy and I were talking, we decided that she would pick up the slack for her household. If Ron wasn't going to write, she would. She discussed how hard it was for her to have the mental energy to put anything down on paper nowadays. So I introduced her to the glories of "No Zero Days." She agreed that this was much more manageable - aside from her "Day of Rest" on Mondays, which are just utter chaos for her - and we decided on the simple challenge of "one sentence a day."

That's it. Just to say it wasn't a "Zero Day" and to help chip the story away a little bit at a time. Even one sentence will slowly get the story written. Much better than no sentences, and the story stays in your head forever. Who knows, these one-sentence-a-day writing briefs may lead to an exciting scene where she ends up spilling 2000 words onto the screen. The point is that she's writing.

Sure, losing 10lbs a week is exciting, but losing 1lb a week will still get you to a healthy weight. Maybe not as fast, but at a pace you can comfortably stick with, and that might lead you to maintaining that weight better than the fast-loser. Writing can be the same way. If you're frantically writing 1700 words a day, like you would during NaNo, you may get that novel done in a month. But who could keep up that pace and crank out a story every other month - one for writing, one for editing? More than likely, that kind of writing would burn you out, have you give up on writing for a while to recharge, and end up only getting one or two stories out a year anyway. So, why not spend the whole year writing that novel - still the NaNo 50,000 words - 137 words at a time? A simple 137 words, that's less than the number that's in this paragraph! Sure, it's a bit more than "one sentence a day", but not by much. And you can stick with this every day easily. End result will be roughly the same as that frantic NaNo-minded writer.

Now, that's not to say that people CAN'T write 2000 words a day. Some even knock out 10,000 words! It's all just a matter of how your brain is wired, and what your life situation is like. A person who sits in their ideal writing location for eight hours straight can most likely write 10,000 words easily. A person who barely has 15 minutes to sit down? Not as easy. Still, writing even that one sentence a day is important. It's telling yourself - and the world around you - that writing is important to you. You're not going to let it slip onto the back burner any longer. You are going to at least give it as much time and effort as you would brushing your teeth every day!

So, I say, if you're a writer as well, and are struggling to find time, even if you can't follow Ali Luke's advice to carve out 15minutes a day, you can follow Cyhyr's challenge and just write one sentence. Go ahead. Prove to yourself that writing is important enough that you won't let another day go by without doing SOMETHING writing related.

And now enough of that.
*Steps off soap box*

Back to my own writing; which I neglected for two days, even after that rousing speech above.

Yesterday I was determined. I took some time at work to go through my files, and organized what I wanted the next X-Future chapter to be. I hid away in my room for a little bit. Later in the day I did so again. I needed to get back on track. I needed more than 500 words. I needed the 1000 that I missed the first two days of the week. It kept me about three hours, off and on, but I did it. I got up to 1600 words. I have no clue how much of that I'll be keeping though.

The next chapter in TSGB is going to be focused on Lia watching footage of her mom's training in the X-Men War Room. It's an impressive room that will be brought up a few more times in the future. Thing is, I think it will only come up once or twice more before I break off for the 2yr time skip. In other words, the majority of the War Room use will be in the NEXT X-Future book I write. Which will also mean redescribing it for people who didn't read TSGB. Still, I wanted to paint the room. Painting the room is what took 1600 words.

I mean, I had Lia do some actions while she walked around the room in a self-guided tour of the sub-sub-basement she had never been in before. It's not ENTIRELY description of a room, but still, 1600 words seems like a LOT. I'll have to see what I can whittle it down to. In the meantime, it's there as establishment.

I can also relax a bit, knowing that I can comfortably go back to my daily writing hour from here on out, and still have my chapter done - in theory; we'll see how long it gets.

I can also relax a bit because I don't have writing group for two weeks, and Phfylburt has officially pulled my weekly challenges from him, at least until I'm done with the Writers’ Huddle challenge. It was a smart move. I thought I could conquer it all - the writing challenge, Phfyl's weekly challenges, and the bi-weekly writing group prompts - with the new daily writing regimen. I should have known better. Should have known that each TSGB chapter would take just about all 3500 words I aim for each week.

I tend to do this though. Spread myself too thin by taking on too much once I'm excited about a project. I mean, I do this ALL. THE. TIME. So, I'm thankful that Phfyl noticed my true ability, and pulled his challenge in the meantime.

Now, to get cracking on the actual, TRUE action of the next TSGB chapter....

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