Challenged

In all senses of the word.

I usually don’t talk about things like this in terms of lookit me, lookit me! I don’t post on Facebook about how many words I got done that day.  Now I used to do so here, but the exercise just began to feel self-defeating because my same problems were evident: a supreme lack of confidence coupled with an inability to push through obstacles.  So I eventually stopped with the “writing out loud” stuff.  Just wasn’t working for me and all it did was make me feel worse about myself.

Anyway…I’ve made no secret of the fact that the last coupla years haven’t been great, especially writing-wise. So, after six unfinished books, I finally got disgusted and set myself a challenge: two weeks to outline a new book and then a finished first draft in a month. (I knew it would have to be a first draft because I decided I wouldn’t circle around to revise or edit.) All I cared about was getting the damn thing done.

And, you know, I did it.  I actually posted on FB about it, too; in fact, I lifted the majority of this from that.  But I did it.  I gave myself two weeks to write an outline and then a month to write the book.  Then I screwed my butt to the chair or chained myself to a counter; I had a word count I had to meet every day and I wrote EVERY SINGLE DAY until I made that day’s count.  Frequently, I went over, but mostly I stayed to the count.  I was tempted so many times to go back and “fix” problems; circle back around and re-draft and all that.  But I didn’t.  I forced myself to simply keep going and write down what needed to change at the end of every day.  That list I’ll type up so it’s ready for when I sit down to work on the next draft.  I also made sure that before I began work that day, I knew what chapters needed to be done, the bullet points of each chapter, etc.

I finished exactly a month to the day: 165K, 500 pages (and a lot of blood on the floor from dead words, and that’s before I’ve even gone back to edit).

Is it a FABULOUS book?  No.  There are all sorts of problems that I’ve seen as I’ve gone along, but I forced myself to simply keep going.  It’s flabby. It’s doughy. I would like to work on it more, but I have another project on deadline that I must start and this needs a rest, a rise, and then a lot of punching and trimming and another element to be braided into place before I send it.

Would I do this again?  Sure.  It’s been a good reminder that not only am I my worst enemy, but work expands to fill the time allotted.  So I’m setting myself goals and deadlines for the next project and the one after that.  I am, in fact, committed to three projects this year with deadlines.  If that doesn’t help me get back in the game, nothing will.

The important things are that I did it, and this draft is done–and the husband didn’t eat a single cat.


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