Well, Josh has been asking that. Every time I’ve bragged about kicking my goals the last few days, or that I’ve written almost 20K words in less than two weeks, he inevitably asks what’s changed. That’s because I’ve struggled to deliver on my ambitious long service leave writing plan, averaging only about 500 words per day, with occasional bursts of 2-3 thousand per day. Those were usually followed by days of writer’s block.
So what has changed? I decided to examine the last few months, and these are my thoughts:
I credit Scrivener with helping me get my third novel off the ground quickly. I wrote Shizzle, Inc and Indiot in Word, which is fine, but I can only now appreciate how difficult it was to plot a full-length novel with subplots, multiple characters, and several plot twists, in a linear document. Scrivener, if you’re not familiar with the tool, allows you to chunk and organise your novel, so you have a clear “skeleton” of acts, chapters, and even scenes onto which to add finer strokes of your prose. I’m not sure why I’ve never tried it before, especially because it’s free to try for 30 days, and only costs $40 to purchase outright.
(Note: I googled and found a 20% coupon, so it only cost me $32. The coupon is WORDSWITHJAM and only works on the full version, but it may stop working soon. If that’s the case, just Google another one.)
I have also purchased a much more expensive Dragon Naturally Speaking narration software, but I’m finding that it’s difficult for me to use it at the moment. Some of it is my accent, so I will have to invest some time into training my Dragon. The other problem comes from twenty-plus years of “thinking through my fingertips.” I’m not giving up on it, though, and hey – just used it to type out this sentence!
I had a personal drama unfold earlier this year, which meant that I spent my February crying, and March elated when it finally resolved. Try writing comedy when the world is dark and tears are literally streaming down your cheeks almost constantly. Try writing anything at all when you’re so happy, you don’t care about anything, including your goals and aspirations. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you have pressing issues of any kind, concentrating on something else is difficult. All you get are fight-or-flight, not sit-down-and-write response.
Also, while I’ve managed to write about 30K words of Indiot in November-January, I had to eventually conclude that those particular words were garbage, and I was continuously rewriting/editing/deleting as I progressed further with the first draft. So even if I wrote 2-3K on a good day and then deleted as much of the old stuff, the resulting word count was insignificant. And that’s just the nature of writing. I’m thinking what I wrote today is pretty good, but I’m not sure how I will feel about it in another month or two.
This is a weird one. Some credit is due to bad reviews and people on KBoards advising me to scrap my cover, scrap my series, and write in a different genre, because chicklit is dead. Those comments hurt, but then they give me some kind of angry energy and desire to prove those people wrong. It also helped that a few days ago I’ve downloaded DMX’s X Goin’ To Give It To Ya and I jump up and down to it whenever I’m starting to feel low. To paraphrase DMX, “Ana’s gonna give it to ya” and “First we gonna write, and then we’ll write more!” DMX is not for everyone, but damn! Listen to it enough, and next thing you know, you just want to drag race and smash things, and maybe challenge strangers to a dance off…like I said, not for everyone.
I’ve let my social media stagnate a bit. What can I say, I was an addict. I still reply to messages, but only once a day, and only after I’ve done my daily writing quota. It’s great to have an active following, and I’m not going to let it stagnate into a deadpool, especially not with #ComedyBookWeek coming up, but I think I now have my priorities straight. Writing comes first. Everything else is after.
Ah, I left the seemingly boring, but very important thing to the last. It’s also related to setting priorities – now I get up early, have my coffee, walk the dog, and sit down to write. Today, I had my first thousand words by 9am. The feeling of accomplishment is like a drug – I had the 2.8K done by 1pm, and then decided to quit for the day, out of fear that I may burn out. I still had the energy to burn – you should see my sparkling kitchen.
Tomorrow the goal is 3K. Ana’s goin’ to give it to ya!