309 words today and I’m totally okay with that. I only gave myself about 15 minutes to write and made some progress nonetheless. It could be a big fat zero, so I’ll take 309.
I started an interesting writing course through Jill Jepsen’s Writing a Sacred Path website. She’s doing a Review and Renew course throughout the month of December. Everyday she’s sending prompts to help writers reflect on their practice. I spent most of my allotted writing today working on my response to Day 1’s prompt about your ideal writing life. I’m not ready to share that response, but hopefully as the course continues I’ll find a few things to share. Or, you can join me in doing the course. Check out: http://www.writingasacredpath.com/2013/11/the-renew-and-review-writing-challenge-starts-december-1.html to sign up.
I’m also joining my friend in V in a like for like event on Facebook. Author’s are getting together to share their social media sites, so we can like each other’s and build our base. If you found me through that, thanks for visiting!
I read an incredible post by a fellow doing Nanowrimo this year. He calculated how many days he had left to live and multiplied that by writing 500 words a day and then divided that by 100,000 (his approximate novel word count) and discovered that if he made that small commitment of writing everyday for the rest of his life he’d be able to write hundred upon hundreds of novels.
Inspired, I decided that I, too, can make such a small commitment. Sometimes it won’t be 500 words and sometimes it will be more. Sometimes it won’t all go the same story, and sometimes I’ll be inspired by the novel for weeks on end. Sometimes I’ll wonder why I ever thought I could be a writer and sometimes I’ll wonder how I could ever have gone months without writing.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m a big fan of keeping commitments. I committed to a lifelong marriage, I committed to caring for my two sweet puppies, I committed to a 30 year mortgage, and I committed to getting through revisions for this story by March 30.
I’m happy to report here, that I’m well ahead of my goal. As of last night, I’ve written a whole new introduction to the book and revised and reworked 24 of 36 chapters. Something about this process just clicked recently and I found myself easily tying up loose plots ends and having no trouble deleting lots and lots of things that didn’t work.
I think part of my inspiration comes from the week I spent at SXSWedu. The company I work for was a sponsor and I got a badge and was able to attend sessions, workshops, and panels full of interesting and innovative ideas. Being surrounded by people who think big and people who want to change kids’ lives was extremely motivating, both professionally and personally.
I thought this process would be a lot more difficult. I thought I’d be too attached to chapters, plot lines, and characters to delete them. But I found that just the opposite was true. It felt like spring cleaning to go in and take out lots of stuff. I wrote this piece during Nano and I found a lot of incessant character rambling and inner thought diatribes that were written just to fill up word count. Taking that stuff out has freed me to do so much more with my character and to leave a little more to the reader’s imagination.
With all this progress, I’m revising my March goal. Instead, I’d like to be done with this round of revisions by the 15th and to print a hard copy of the piece sometime this weekend. Then I’m committing to a full read-through and making additional revisions by March 30th.
When you think about all the authors out there who make a living just writing, it’s easy to get pretty envious. I’m not sure that would ever be the life for me. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of hiding away in some desolate cabin or ranch or villa (preferably villa) and just whiling away the hours writing sounds like a dream come true. But I don’t know that I could just do that. Wake up, write all day, the end.
Being a teacher is part of my identity. It explains a lot about me, like why I go to bed so early, and why I frequently have to hide alcoholic beverages when I’m in public, or why I can’t wear my pajamas out in public anymore. It’s also my source of inspiration. I write for them and my own fifth-grade self. I write because they inspire me with their lives and their writing.
I’ve been struggling with what my priorities are lately. I want writing to be a priority, but it seems to be the first thing that I let go of when I get stressed and busy, well, second thing (exercise is definitely the first to go). When I think about why I’m letting it go so easily I can think of a few reasons: it’s hard, it makes me think and question myself, it takes time. But when I weigh those reasons against the reasons why I write: to inspire my students, to express myself, to be free, there’s just no comparison. Writing must become a priority.
I have the next 6 weeks free and clear from any pressing obligations, with the exception of a wedding to go to, but that’s not an obligation, it’s a celebration. So when I think of all I could accomplish in 42 days, I become downright giddy. I need to start solid writing routines that will carry with me into next school year, so that even when I’m busy and pulled in a million directions, I carve out the time to do the work.