Writing Goals and Refilling the Well

I’m sadly behind in my writing goals, but I’m not really surprised since I set the bar so high for myself. At this point I’m about 5900 words behind schedule. The problem with falling behind goals is that you get to a point where you just want to give up on the goal instead of doubling down and trying harder to get the work done. For me, a lot of the nonfiction articles I write require a lot of research and that takes time, but I can’t justify counting that toward my writing goals. Instead, I create a rough draft of the article and count those words, then when I revise it’s just a matter of calculating my editing time as an equivalent word-count, which admittedly is a bit tricky to do.

The best course of action is to get back on track with my average daily writing goal. I’m only counting five days a week for that because I’ve found that it is unrealistic if I expect to write every day. Sometimes I just need to get away from the keyboard. I work full time and spending fourteen hours a day sitting here and being productive is just not going to happen.

I spent some time this weekend indulging in what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well.” That’s basically recharging your artistic batteries by doing something different and not beating yourself over the head for not getting your entire NaNoWriMo word count done in one afternoon. I’ve signed up for a Craftsy course on working with colored pencils and right now fighting the urge to buy excessively large collections of colored pencils just because — Oooh! All the colors! I have colored pencils but of course I want different ones, because as it turns out there is a difference between them. There are wax-based and oil-based pencils, and the oil-based ones are much smoother and have more pigment so they are a higher-quality artist tool than the cheap ones you get at the local mega-mart.

My writing goals this week are to finish revising and editing a bio for an encyclopedia and start working on a presentation that I’m giving the beginning of April. I’ll probably spend time trawling my notes so it may not be much actual writing for that, but I also have been putting off doing the final revision of my novel as other projects have just swept it off my desk. Time to pull it out and get started, I think.

And one more thing: my backspace key just fell off my keyboard, so I have to type perfectly! Have a productive writing week, and may all your words be typo free.

 

Missing: One Muse

writing_sign

It’s been like pulling teeth to get any writing done lately. It’s not because I don’t have time, I’m just not doing it. I’ve gone into this dark place where I fear I will die of boredom real soon now. Everything bores me and I’m frustrated 120 percent of the time. Yes, I know. I can’t be bored 120 percent of the time, but it sure seems like that much!

I’m plodding along on several projects, including writing and a few craft projects, but I just can’t get really excited about working on them. Maybe I just need to finish a few things. Too many half-baked ideas languishing for want of attention and a pile of art supplies collecting dust do not an artist make. And I’m falling behind on my writing goals already and it’s only mid-February. On the flip side I have been getting in more steps as I try to get some exercise into my schedule.

Maybe at this point I just have to go through the motions and work projects toward completion. Perhaps my muse will show back up when it’s time to edit my stories and articles. As for the zero draft of my latest story, well, it’s words on a page, but I need a lot more. Actually, just more exciting words. The short story is threatening to turn into a novella, so I’m already aware that the pacing is off, but at this point I need to get stuff down before I can revise it. My deadline is next Friday, so I have a week to get this sorted out.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 139

I captured this image during a nighttime cemetery excursion in Edinburgh, Scotland. Is it simply a flashlight blurred by movement, or is it something else?

I captured this image during a nighttime cemetery excursion in Edinburgh, Scotland. Is it simply a person holding a flashlight, blurred by the camera’s long exposure–or is it something else?

I’m having another night of insomnia. It’s gotten to be that I’m dealing with this three or four nights a week, but I can’t find a pattern to it. It doesn’t seem to matter if I drink coffee or tea or alcohol, and it doesn’t matter what I eat or how much I exercise. I think partly I’m just getting used to using the time for writing or other creative work and so I’m starting to crave it. Obnoxiously, a few nights ago I wanted very much to work on a project and I couldn’t keep my eyes open no matter what.

O! Fickle Muse!

And that brings me to this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt. Many writers use the wee hours of night to coax words onto the page. Some just can’t sleep, while others just find it easier to write uninterrupted once everyone else has settled down for the night.

But what if the reason were something else? What if, during the night, your Muse did actually visit you? What form would it take? Human, animal, god/goddess, elf, alien, robot? Would the Muse offer you a gentle nudge, or slam your head into the desk if you didn’t start typing right away?

Your task is to introduce your Muse and to describe the modus operandi that he or she or it uses to wring some words out of you. Because you are the only one who can see your Muse, you will have to be very descriptive in your writing. Pull the curtains shut against the world, shut the door against interruptions, and write on into the night. I am.

Night Writer

It looks like writing in the middle of the night is becoming my new “normal.” I’ve been working on my short story for Corrugated Sky’s second anthology and this seems like the best time for me to sit down and get some writing done without interruptions. I’d much rather sleep and keep a consistent routine, but this fall and winter I’ve been plagued with bouts of insomnia, so now I’m forcing the issue and trying to make it work for me rather than lay in bed and toss and turn and get nothing done — except worry that I have too much to do!

The story is going slowly. I seem to be writing it as though it’s going to be novel-length, but for some reason I can’t seem to put on the brakes. I guess I’ll just have to let it play out on the page in this draft — Draft Zero — and trim and prune for the first draft. It’s much easier to condense and cut than to go back later and add material in. What’s the story about? Well, it involves airships and the South Pole, and that’s all I’m going to tell you for now.

In other news, I’ve set up my Author Page on Amazon and will be adding to it periodically. At the moment it shows two anthologies that I’ve contributed to, but I have also written more than a hundred encyclopedia articles (whew!) in various publications and I’m trying to get some of those set up to display on my page. If you’re curious, check out my Publications page here on Focal Plane.