Journal

Friday Update:

Friday finally swings around again, wrapping up a tolerably productive week. The weather’s been lovely, and we even slept with the windows open last night for the first time in I don’t know how long. There’s no bliss like reading by book light, listening to the spring peepers.

Accomplished This Week…

Hit my 3k words on the book comfortably by end of day Tuesday, which meant I had time to come up with the first short story of April’s Chekhov month!

I wanted to avoid the brain-blankness of last week, so on Tuesday afternoon, I went through my massive idea list and plucked out any that sparked interest in me at that moment. Sometimes you have a great idea, but you’re just not feeling it. I’ve found it rarely works to force an idea when my heart’s not in it.

I know I’m onto something when the narrative starts coming to me unbidden in clips and chunks. In order to give myself the best chance at hitting on something that excites me in a defined period of time, it definitely helps to pull up some options before I need them and let my subconscious figure out its approach.

That seemed to work this time, because I spat out a semi-decent humorous Snow White retelling. It definitely will need some work, but I’m a firm believer that in creative work, at least, quantity begets quality eventually. I’m kind of hoping this weekly split between long form and short form work will let me produce a lot more short story drafts.

Finishing this last draft also means, I’ve hit my goal of five new story drafts! Way earlier than I expected, but I’m delighted by having some new stories on hand. Now to see what rises to the top as cream.

Inspiring Me This Week…

This week has been utterly dominated by Breasts and Eggs by Meiko Kawakami. Jeez Louise, the chapter near the end, “Take it or Leave it?” The scene with Yuriko? *sobs* That messed me up for a day or two. I’m hoping there’s some semblance of a happy ending, or at least general acceptance, because DANG.

Also, charging back to the fore: How to Write Funny (vol 1) by Scott Dikkers. I’m going back through it as a reference for continuing on to How To Write Funnier, which seems to tackle longer form humor, compared to the basics of humor writing in Vol 1. But I’m enjoying it all over again, and it’s really lighting my fire for funny fiction.

I’m also about halfway through The Admissions Scandal, about the Varsity Blues fraud case, on Netflix and it’s surprising how many very strange feels it delivers, particularly as a parent, watching these incredibly complicated parent-child relationships. It will give you thinks, that’s for sure. (Also, the Social Dilemma is pretty interesting, too, as pop-sci/pop-culture documentaries go!)

For Next Week…

Carry on carrying on. Another 3k to do, another short story to write. I’m hoping to carve out some time this weekend to edit and review another short story to possibly submit somewhere, so we’ll see what that does to the time for a new story. A story submitted is worth two in the head, you know what I mean?

Pretty soon, I’m going to need to whip my book synopsis into shape, too. It’s not due for a little bit yet, but I’d rather have it off my plate.

But how was your week? Things getting any easier? Or is the full pressure of spring hitting you hard? What have you been reading/watching lately?

3 thoughts on “Friday Update:”

  1. It seems like you are pretty discipline! How do you do it? I really admire people such as yourself who can plan and follow through with their goal on their own. I need some discipline!

    1. I didn’t used to be! Honestly, in a weird way, having kids has helped in that my free time is crazy compressed into the two hours my youngest naps, so I don’t do any kind of “warm up” routines or anything. I could make a cup of tea, but that’s five minutes I’m not getting words in!

      In terms of goal-setting, that’s been a real evolution over time. I used to be a massive overly-optimistic goal setter (think Coyote with Road Runner-catching plans), but more often than not, I missed those deadlines. A little while ago, I went on a time-management/productivity/creativity reading binge, and read Work Clean by Dan Charnas and Atomic Habits by James Clear. They made me look seriously at realistic time expectations (what can I *actually* do in X amount of minutes?) and stupidly small goals (what’s the smallest bite I *know* I can achieve, rather than what I wish I could achieve?). I also read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (if you find you don’t resonate with her spiritual/muse-driven philosophy of creativity, I’d also recommend The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp–they’re almost the same in terms of how they make you think about your art and creative drive, and they offer similar helpful habits, but Tharp is much more board-and-nails, down to earth. I personally liked Cameron’s, though maybe only because I read it first!).

      The other thing I did was start tracking my own metrics. In 2019, I was sure I’d had the worst writing year of my life–I felt like I hadn’t gotten anything done that I wanted to. So I sat down and figured out the kinds of things I wanted to track: new drafts, total words, new submissions–that kind of thing. And compared to the year I considered my best ever in terms of submissions/new drafts/total words, 2019 blew it out of the water! It made me realize how subjective my assessment of progress was, so now I set much smaller goals, always trying to move just a tiny bit ahead of where I was the previous year. If I wrote three new stories last year, I try to write four the next. That way, I’m not falling into the trap of way overshooting what’s realistic for me to get done. I can always do more! But I set my goals to be attainable. That helps immensely, both in avoiding guilt, and in giving myself props for what I *do* get done!

      Nothing helps discipline like practice! ^_^ All the best!

  2. Realistic goals makes sense. You’re right when I find myself tying to do more than I’m use to I tend to fail and guilt sets in. Thank you so much for the tips, and the book recommendations! Will definitely put this on my to be read list.

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