Tag Archives: drafting

Balancing Act: Wire Walking for Writers

I am, by far, not the most coordinated gal. I have a tendency to take on too much, get overwhelmed, and find it impossible to accomplish anything. Back in May, I tried the “sticker thing,” where you assign a task/goal to a sticker and then you get a sticker for doing it. Easy, right?

I promised myself a red star for every thousand words written, a orange star for 500, and a yellow start for going to the gym.

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11.5k in two weeks isn’t half bad. Over all, I wrote over 20k, which isn’t NaNoWriMo level word counts, but I was impressed with myself. There’s even a 2k day on there! I advanced the WIP from 15k to 40K. I wish I still had a photo of the completed month, but alas, it is gone.

Sadly, June went up in smoke. I didn’t follow the star pattern, even though I really enjoyed doing it and I liked how glittery my day planner was. The WIP hit a wall and I couldn’t see my way around, through, or over it. If you read my Whatcha Reading post, you know my creative well ran dry and I was effectively beached. In fact, in a moment of self-doubt, I quit. Forever lasted about six days this times, but I was spent.

I bought a new planner, and I swore up and down that I’d try again. And would you look a that:

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So sparkly.

If you can’t read the guide, the red stars are 500 words, the yellow are gym days, and the orange is two chapters edited. Part of my learning to balance is making time to write AND revise. If I hit 500 words, I’d switch and edit. Two chapters down, and (if time) I’d go back to writing.

As you can see, I work a varied schedule at The Day Job, running anywhere from 6am to 11pm. Some days, it’s difficult to find time, and clearly, I didn’t write every day. I feel like “not finding time” is a poor excuse, but remember what I said about being overwhelmed? It doesn’t help when your Day Job involves dealing with the public. I find people draining, especially when my work week is 4+ days long. I can’t always find time in between to recharge, and that effects everything else.

In the interim, I’ve been dealing with my autoimmune disorder and an unfortunate allergic reaction to one of the medications. Being itchy for three weeks was not really what I wanted. Being sick is also very tiring, and I often feel limited when my symptoms flare. I want to use that “sick time” to write, catch up on blog posts, but 9 times out of 10, it’s me watching YouTube tutorials and contemplating peeling my skin off with a potato slicer.

In assigning “tasks” to stars, I felt more in control of what I could manage and when, and damn is it nice to see what I’ve accomplished. Writing is kinda of like exercise in that you don’t necessarily see your progress because you’re staring at yourself the whole time. The stars let me step back and gain a different view.

They also told me I need to hit the gym more.

I wrote 13.5k this month, with a 2.5k day in which I finished the draft. It’s now tucked away, resting. In a little less than two weeks, I did the first revision pass on my YA. While that, too, gains some space, I’m picking at a new idea, code name: Black Magic Book, and going back for another round of revision on my adult novel.

I feel balanced, which is something I haven’t felt since I started multiple projects. Learning to write and edit is step one. I’m not particularly fast regarding either task, and that’s perfectly fine. At the moment, I have to space and time to work at my own pace. No deadlines (unless it’s a review or something for one of the two sites I freelance for), no pressure except that I place on myself.

The big lesson is that I really do need to be nicer to me. Take myself out for a chai and relax and pick away at a new book or an old chapter. Don’t berate myself for being run down, but replenish my energy.

Finally watch Deadpool five months later.

Hopefully, I stay on the high-wire. My goal is to get ahead with a couple of blog posts, some LONG over due, prepare to take the YA out for querying (which I’d intended to start in May and the LIFE happened), and maybe even rack up a couple of scripts for my poorly treated podcast. Research is another thing I need to make time for.

My tendency to jump into things isn’t always rewarded.

And with this, that’s one blue star for me, and we sally forth into August.

…How the hell is it August?

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