Monday, October 21, 2013

Late ROW80 Update

It has been forever since I updated my progress. Or at least my status, since "progress" has been severely lacking lately. I have a host of reasons (read: excuses) why, like fall cleaning/ organizing, a sick child, a baby, a new job (very part time in acquisitions for CQ), and an impending release. Or three. But the bottom line is, I just haven't made the time to do it. Everything I read about writing emphasizes one thing over and over: you have to hack the time out of your life and guard it like a rabid beast. We all have busy lives, and I'm no exception. But others with even busier lives than mine still manage to lay words down, and so must I.

I read a quote recently that chilled my blood. "If you don't make time for writing, then you really don't want to be a writer." I've forgotten who said it- a random Famous Person- and it may actually be a paraphrase. Sue me. But the sentiment made me stop short, because hey, I haven't gotten much done the last few days. Or couple of weeks. Does this mean I'm not really a writer?

Hell. No.

So I sat down and did some very specific calculations about what it would take to be the kind of writer I want to be. I want to be able to write a book every three months or so. Not that I will choose to do that- some books may take longer, or I will take time out for revisions and launches, etc- but that's the kind of word count I want to be able to make. To do so, I must write roughly 2,000 words every four or five days. And that's good. I can do that. So I will. Starting... today. No more excuses.

The week(s) have not been without progress, however. One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been my horrible sleep schedule- a bit beyond my control, since it's dependent on when my baby sleeps. I have been working hard on it, and after a few sleepless night and zombie-like days, I finally have her sleeping mostly through the night. That was one of my biggest goals- to stay up after taking the kids to school and do something- anything- writing related. For months there, I was up 'til 3am with the child, stumbling back to bed as soon as I got home from the to-school run. We've now all (mostly) settled in to a happy rhythm, and I have even less of an excuse to not get things done.

11 comments:

  1. That quote you just told us about was really a slap in the face. Thanks, I needed it. I'm just now getting back on the writing horse. I have a WIP that's now about 2/3 finished, but I've been messing with it forever, it seems. I haven't published in a YEAR. I would like to write a book about every 4 months, so maybe 3 a year. I would be really happy with that. If I didn't have a full time job, I think I could do more than that.

    Good luck with getting back on a good writing schedule. The sleeping schedule has to work first. The good news is that older your baby gets, the longer she will sleep.

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    1. The sleeping is getting better, thank god! :) I totally know where you're coming from- I already took close to year "off," although much of it not by choice. I wonder... have you thought about maybe trying another genre, just to see if something shakes loose? I remember you mentioning writing Christian romances a while ago. I thought it sounded really neat. I would so read one. Maybe you just need a new ms to tinker with! (Not that you should give up on the 2/3s one. That's quite a significant amount of work!)

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  2. I've seen that quote or similar ones around in quite a few places, I think. And it does feel like a slap in the face - especially when you're at a point in your life when you haven't been able to carve out the time for writing for whatever reason. And I do think we all have those times, although I am treading perilously close to the line these days, where I have more excuses than legitimate reasons for my lack of progress. I need to sit down, as you did, and make a plan. And then stick to it. Thanks for the kick in the pants. :)

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    1. Didn't mean to kick anyone! Sorry! ;) But it really did ring true with me too. After another frustrating day of baby/kids underfoot/ work to do, it will be so easy to just let it slide one more day. But I want to do this, so that means putting in the work. Sigh,

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  3. I've never really cared for that quote. It's so accusatory and who is high muckety-muck to tell me that I'm not a writer just because I had no brain power left for it during several other time and brain busting events. I just got done with a few of those myself. It makes me no less of a writer, just like you said about yourself, though I did squeeze a bit here and there when I could. But to keep from stressing out, I had to acknowledge that I couldn't do more than that because the other deadlines were more critical.

    I like how you personalized what it would mean for you to consider yourself a writer and broke it down into comprehensible and measurable goals. Best wishes with it. :)

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    1. Yeah, I really need to work on being able to "squeeze a bit" myself. That would be an invaluable skill. But your comment makes me wonder- just who is this Famous Person anyway? I bet it's someone with no kids and a lot of money. Or someone else taking care of the kids....

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  4. I think sometimes no matter how much you want to write personal stuff must come first - children and paid employment are soo important - and writing is not just about word counts, its about the thought and dream behind the stories - many great authors had to lay aside the words for a while to concentrate on life - don't be hard on yourself - without sleep you'll be no good:)

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    1. An older man was checking out in front of me at the grocery the other day. He had less than ten things in his cart- enough, he said, for him and his wife to have dinner for a couple of days. And there I stood, cart full to bursting *and* spilling over, with an infant, and two teenagers who were begging me for candy bars. "I remember those days," he said, indicating my cart. He was smiling and looked wistful. I thought, this is just my time of life. And that's kind of awesome. Because it will pass.

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  5. Hi Vicki. Came across your blog by following a link posted by another CQ author (and writing buddy of mine), Matthew Cox. First, congrats on the upcoming release of "Gifts of the Blood." How exciting!

    I've also struggled with the "you're not a writer if you don't make time to write" idea. I finished my first novel (a sci-fi thriller) a little over a year ago and have since revised and polished it, crafted my query letter and synopsis (at least 2 different versions of each), begun the submissions process, developed an author website (www.ethourihan.com), tried to keep up with my blog, and - oh yeah! - started work on my second novel. All of that on top of a day job and a life.

    It's not always easy to carve out that time, and there are days when I may only net 100-200 words. But the REALLY important thing, I remind myself, is simply to just keep moving forward in some measured way regardless of how slowly that may be. It's true that unless you're writing, you're not producing, but speaking personally, I don’t define myself by how many words I produce each day. It's more than that. Writing in my bones. That's what makes a writer.

    Good luck with the release and carry on, content in the knowledge that you are a writer even if you don’t have time to write every single day.

    Evan

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    1. Evan, first, thanks so much for stopping by! And congrats on your novel. May it find an excellent home. A few friends manage to make themselves turn out at least a couple of hundreds of words a day. That would be an improvement for me- it would at least be making small progress towards my goal. Maybe adjusting expectations downward really would help? Worth a try, especially on those really brain dead zombie days!

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