The Wednesday Writing Worktable: Get Off Your Butt and Write

So you have two weeks of writing under your belt, you may or may not be on target to finish 50k in a month. Something happens during Week 3 though. You may think the story your writing is crap, or there are holes that you've fallen into and can't escape, or you think you've fallen too far behind to meet the end of the month goal. It happens to all of us.

I'm here to tell you to GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND WRITE ANYWAY!

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.

- C. J. Cherry

If I were a lion tamer, I'd whip you until you wrote. If I were a personal trainer, I'd stand by you and tell you to stop whining and just do it. 

Unfortunately or fortunately, in your case, I'm not either of those. I'm a writer just like you, and I go through the same struggles you're going through. 

This weekend I went out of town for Father's Day. 
I hardly wrote all day Friday or Saturday and pulled out some torturous writing Sunday night, falling asleep at the computer from exhaustion. Monday morning, I woke up, and I couldn't write. I just couldn't. It wasn't writer's block. I checked the profile. It was something else. I had no drive. I was staring at the time all day, and I wanted to do anything other than write.

Three o'clock rolled around. My word count was still 0. It was my turn to run sprints @JuNoWriMo. I signed on and wrote, but still the distractions piled up. My baby would sneeze, and I was done writing for that sprint. Still, those sprints forced me to hit my goal of 2k for the day. So as soon as I hit it, I called it a day. I couldn't do anymore.

Tuesday, I decided I couldn't let this go on anymore. If I kept this up, I was likely to throw in the towel, shelf the book for a later date, and possibly forget the book altogether. Noooo. What do I do though? I didn't know.

I was a little more than 43k total, which I know is high. I know what you're thinking, "Gosh. If I was that high, I wouldn't complain. I'd definitely finish." But even at this level, I had lost my initial writing mojo. It wasn't because I had no hope of finishing because in all likelihood I would finish 50k by the end of the month. I think that was the problem: I would finish. I could write very little and still finish. There was no rush. There was no drive. I should have been excited, thinking there was only 7k left. Last week, I had set a goal to finish my 50k by Wednesday. That had kept me going through last week, but then this weekend hit where I pulled low numbers. It didn't seem at all likely I would hit that goal. And when you realize you aren't going to meet your goal, it's a huge drop in motivation, like walking right off a cliff kind of drop.

At some point during my shift of sprints yesterday, it hit me. 

I needed MORE goals. 
Ones that were difficult, but more achievable since I wasn't likely to hit my Wednesday goal. So I checked the JuNoWriMo Achievements. I caught myself up on the achievements I earned. It was fun and a small push in motivation being able to claim those. The only thing I hadn't yet done, besides finishing the word count achievements, was writing 1k in 30 minutes. Without distractions, I was pulling between 800 and 900 words. It was close, but still a stretch, but you know what, it made me write. In the very least, I was hoping to pull out a 30 minute best. 

So last night, after my baby girl and husband were snoozing, I snuck away to my computer. I put on some pump up music (for me, that's usually alternative/light rock). I saw the #JuNoWriMo sprints were rocking and guess what? They were doing a #30min1k. Bingo. Just what I needed. 

I jumped in, and the first time, nope, no cigars. I pulled out my average of about 859 or something like that. I realized something huge that sprint though. I tend to use the darn backspace A LOT. I needed to get past that. When the second #30min1k was underway, I resisted the backspace. Like C.J. Cherry said, I'll fix it in the edits. I'll make note of my changes after the sprint. Guess what?

I got the achievement. 
I wrote 1029 words. I think that number is etched in my brain now. I can't believe it. And guess what else? I got 4779 words yesterday, giving me a grand total of 46, 397 words. It will not be easy, but I could possibly hit the goal I thought wouldn't be possible: 50k by Day 18. 3603 words to go.

I'm not saying you need to do these goals, but I am saying Set Goals. Set goals you know you can hit and set a few that will be tough but doable. And keep writing. Here are some goals to consider besides the JuNoWriMo Achievements if you're struggling with writing:

  • Write as little as one word every day (I bet you can't write just one, thus making you write more.)
  • Write nonstop for 10 minutes
  • Don't let your fingers leave the keys when you sit down to write
  • Join in the sprints
  • Don't write alone (Get on Twitter)
  • Find a place that provides little to no distractions
  • Plot out the scenes you want to write for the day

Hopefully, these will get you writing.

It's okay if you can't hit the 1667 words a day. 
I couldn't my first try at a WriMo. But after much writing later, I've exceeded my own goals and turned my failure into success. You can do it too. Just remember:

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.

- William Faulkner

What am I doing on this blog? I've got a goal to meet. Wish me luck. I'll keep you posted.

Lots of <3,

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