Daily Writing Check-in: April 16, 2019

Words/Time:  37 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

And this is why it’s better to do at least a little writing work every day. The last time I posted, I said that in my conversation with one of the antagonists of the book, I had one more bit of information to get out of the character before moving on to lay out the plot points and see where we hit questions. But today…I had no idea what the bit of information was. Because I missed 3 days of writing, I read over the conversation so far, and read some other thoughts I’d written out on Friday when I last worked on this.

Doing this did lead me to some more solid ideas for the mystery-solving side of the story, so I’m glad for that. And then I decided to just go ahead and start talking to the antagonist about the events leading up to the climax. Hopefully if there really is something else I need to ask her outside of this, I’ll remember it along the way. Also hopefully I won’t keep taking days off.

Not surprisingly, I’m about 2 hours behind par for the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo. I may not win this month, but if I can keep coming back to the writing without letting this turn into another month-long break (or worse), it’ll still be something.

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Daily Writing Check-in: April 12, 2019

Words/Time:  55 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued the character interview with the antagonist of the book. There’s just one more bit of information I want to get from this person, and then we will lay out the things that happen “behind the scenes” in the book, so I can see if any of it will actually be seen in the book in some way. I can’t quite remember why I thought this was an answer to my missing later section of the book, because most of it is really just lending itself toward a better climax. I can only think of one scene it adds, so it’s not exactly a huge filler. But we’ll see what the rest of the conversation brings.

I didn’t write for the last 2 days, so I’m about 50 minutes behind in the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m so over this work I’m doing–this work that leaves me wanting to do nothing more than play games in the evening. It will eventually end, but not soon enough. I’m glad to be making progress though, however sporadic.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 9, 2019

Words/Time:  33 minutes doing preliminary work for finishing the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued the character interview with the antagonist of the book. I want to make sure I’m not just dragging this out to avoid going back to the harder work of the outline, but I can tell there are some more details to the new idea I just came up with yesterday that I still need to know. So I won’t stop until I feel I’ve exhausted the topic.

I’m only about 15 minutes behind par in the goal I set for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m excited to have the thoughts flowing again, even if I am stopping earlier in the night than I normally do because I just want to go do something mindless to prepare for another day of mind-numbingly boring and aggravating work.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 8, 2019

Words/Time:  1 hour working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I have been struggling hard with this outline. In my last post, I suggested that more character interviews might help, even though I had still come up short of how to fill out the middle of the book by the end of a long interview with Jonathan, the main character of the book. I thought about who might be good to interview, and decided to just start with the character who has the greatest antagonistic influence on the story.

My thinking was that even if the conversation came up flat and cliche, I could always give up and move on. It took me a full page of my half-size notebook to get past her annoyance at me even making her talk to me, but by the end of that page, I had already had my first niggle of a break-through. The next few lines came slowly as I began to realize that this idea could be exactly what I needed…and then began to question if what I was thinking was even possible. I started following that thread, and now…I’m sold!

After a couple of weeks (of days with actual writing work, not real time) of just having no clue what I was missing in a story that was  already in desperate need of an interesting middle and lead-up to the climax when I wrote it 3 1/2 years ago, this kind of eureka moment is just amazing! I’ve said it before, and I will never stop saying it–discovery is my absolute favorite thing about writing!

I didn’t write the last 2 days, so I’m a little behind for Camp NaNoWriMo. But I have a feeling it’ll be easier to get back to it now that I am excited about this story again. That doesn’t mean I won’t still skip days this month, because of the difficult and draining “end game” work I’m doing before I leave my job, but I doubt I’ll be dreading getting to the writing anymore for a while.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 5, 2019

Words/Time:  37 minutes working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

Today involved mental brainstorming again. I eked out a few more ideas for the dead zone of this story, but am still missing what pulls everything together. I keep telling myself that I can just write out the plot points that I do know and leave some spaces to fill it in later, but I just can’t quite seem to move on.

I’m wondering if character interviews might help me, because they have gotten me through some serious blocks in the past, but even while interviewing Jonathan, the main character of this story, I was left with this hole. Maybe I need to talk to a different character, but I’m not sure who.

I’m on par for Camp NaNoWriMo. I suppose that since my daily goal is the same as it has been, this isn’t terribly exciting, but I still like having somewhere else to hold myself accountable.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 4, 2019

Words/Time:  30 minutes working on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I did less outlining and more thinking today. A little bit of writing out some broad notes as I try to still figure out what I’m missing in the big empty end of act 2/beginning of act 3. I don’t know why this is giving me so much trouble. Maybe because I don’t really have a sub-plot. Maybe because a murder-mystery is just so outside of my wheel house. I just don’t know.

I made a decision to lighten the load for Camp NaNoWriMo. I wanted to set my daily time goal higher than what it’s been outside of camp, but I don’t think I can remotely keep up with my planned pace of an hour a day. Considering that I have only hit that 1 day so far, and it was very difficult to do, this just isn’t the month to push myself. The last few days, I told myself that surely things with my job will get better later in the month and it’ll be easier to get the writing in, and even get caught up. But if by then, I’m 10 hours (or more) behind, I just don’t see it happening. And frankly, it might still get harder before it gets better. I don’t want to burn myself out. And though winning Camp NaNo isn’t even as big of a deal to me as winning NaNoWriMo proper, I at least want to have a chance. So I decided that even just hitting the same 30 minutes per day that I was hitting before the work saga began would be a win for me this month, and I cut my goal in half.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 2, 2019

Words/Time:  60 minutes starting on the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

It’s still not going as smoothly as the outlines I created for the first 2 items on my current writing goals list. I still feel like I’m missing some big parts to the story. I am hoping more will reveal itself, if not during the outlining, then during the re-drafting. I think the story is still important, and still worth telling (though I have questioned whether I should just scrap it, with how difficult it has been), and I do think I have made some great strides toward making it a stronger and more interesting story than the first draft. But it’s been a battle.

I am still a little behind for Camp NaNoWriMo, but I also hit par for my goal today, so I’m not too bothered by being a little behind. I’m pretty proud of myself for hitting an hour today, considering that my work saga is still ongoing.

Daily Writing Check-in: April 1, 2019

Words/Time:  35 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued my conversation with Jonathan about the events of this story, and read over my brainstorming from when I wrote the first draft. I think I might just have a more solid grasp on this story now. In any event, I’m ready to start laying out the plot points and see what it looks like.

Camp NaNoWriMo started today. I set my goal at 30 hours for the month, which I’m already behind on. But I am okay with that. I take Camp NaNo seriously, but not quite as seriously as NaNo proper. It will help me push myself, and that’s all that matters.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 31, 2019

Words/Time:  20 minutes doing preliminary work for the new outline of “The Seeger Book.”

I continued my conversation with Jonathan about the events of this story, which I had not finished at the point that I took an unplanned break. The conversation is still proving very insightful, though I think its usefulness is coming to an end. Not because I have the events figured out, but because I’ve run up against the big, empty 2nd half of act 2 & beginning of act 3. The same late mid-section that I left empty in the first draft of this book. I just feel like there’s something missing, but I haven’t hit on what it is yet.

I don’t know if this means I’ll need to do some more broad brainstorming, or if I need to pick a different character to interview, or if I just need to let it sit for a while. Or even if I need to go ahead and write the outline I have so far, and even draft it from that, and see if more plot points come up during the actual writing (it happens a lot for me). It will be difficult to even decide where to go next.

It has not been the most stellar month of writing for me, but I’m really glad I had enough self-motivation to get even 20 minutes in today. Since I officially quit my job 2 weeks ago, but agreed to stay on to help finish a huge project and train other people, things have actually gotten worse at my job. I have taken refuge in the game Stardew Valley most evenings as a coping mechanism. As much as I’d rather say I use my writing, story world, characters, etc. as a coping mechanism…this is just too much to cope with.

Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and I hope to be able to push past my emotional and mental issues caused by work, and be able work on my writing every day this month, with an ultimate goal of an average of an hour a day. I know that might be unrealistic at this time, but if I don’t set my goal higher than what I do outside of Camp, then it’s almost pointless to participate. I’m also well aware that I might end up crashing and burning in this attempt, but it’s worth trying.

Daily Writing Check-in: March 22, 2019

I actually have no writing work of any kind to report, but I wanted to post to just say that I’m still here, and haven’t fallen into a writing hole. Since I’ve had this blog, I have seen those times where I do well writing almost every day for a stretch, and then just stop for months at a time. And one of those times turned into almost 3 years away.

This break so far has lasted about 10 days. The first few days I skipped were due to major stress related to my job. By evening, when I normally get to my writing work, I just wanted to do something mindless during my free time. That situation dragged on, and has actually led to me basically quitting my job, only agreeing to stay on in a minor capacity. Looking back and seeing how often, even in the last few months when I’ve had a better writing habit again, I skipped a day because of work, I can see why this was a good decision. Not because it kept me from my writing work, but because most of the time that I skipped a day or two, it was because of having a very rough day at work. And because of what I know causes that stress, it’s time to move on.

Though I do have what could be up to 2 months ahead of me before I can fully step down from my main duties, due to needing to train others, and help the company get past certain things that I am best-suited to help them with, I am already somewhat less stressed than I have been in a long time, just simply by making this decision.

Moving on, I didn’t do any writing work today, because I was gone until too late to get to it. Tomorrow is a maybe, because I have to work until evening and get up super early on Sunday. But I do plan to take some time on Sunday and really dive back into what I was last working on. I do not want this to turn into a prolonged break.

I also think it is likely that part of the reason that I dropped off so completely is that the current task I am working on is turning out to be very difficult. In my last post, I said that the goal I am currently working toward is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. So since the difficulties of the next few months are likely to continue to take an emotional toll on me, I need to be careful to not push myself  to do more in a day than my brain can handle, when working on an already difficult task.