Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making the final check-in

Wait! #ROW80...I'm here.  Out of breath and panting but I'm here to deliver my final check-in.

I've been off the blogging grid for almost three weeks now....first because I had a number of visitors and then because I opted for working on my writing goals instead of blogging about them in the last hours of the first round of #ROW80.

But before this round ends I wanted to just put in how far I made it with my goals, and to send so much gratitude out to Kait Nolan and this writing challenge and as well to the sponsors and every other ROWer who came to encourage and visit my blog.  It was also fun getting to visit some of yours!

So, for a recap of my goals:

Through Kait's advice, I started out by chopping my original goal in half.  I know I can write between 2,000 and 3,000 words when I'm trying, so doing as Kait said, I made my #ROW80 goal to write 1,000/day, five days a week, and have this also translate into 5,000 words/week.

It didn't take me long to realize that this was the best goal I ever set for myself.  Through the first two months of #ROW80 I was meeting or surpassing this goal every week — and sometimes only writing four days instead of five.

It's been SUCH an eye-opener for me.  Before this, I would set these massive goals for myself and I would never accomplish them and there would be a lot of self-hate involved and defeatism.  Then, along came #ROW80 to show me that I can actually set smaller goals for myself (and this was MUCH smaller by my standards) and then...I would actually end up getting MORE done than with any of the big goals I've ever set for myself!

I had to take a week and a bit off in February to go see family in Vancouver, and then I had some visitors, but by the time I came back to write I looked at how much I had done so far for #ROW80 and saw that I had written 35,000 words in 6 weeks!!  Now, add this to the 5,000 words I'd already had before the writing challenge started and that put me at 40k!

I realized then, that if I worked hard, if I played my cards right, I could actually finish this novel!!!

So I upped my goals.  2,000 words/day, five days a week — translating into 10,000 words per week.

Now, this goal, I learned quickly was much harder for me to achieve.  I felt burnt out by the end of the week and if I missed a day it was much harder to make up the extra word count if I fell behind.  Still, I made it to 9,800 words the first week and 9,000 words the second.

Something I also started doing through this challenge is keeping track of my daily word count on an excel file — and I highly recommend this.

Then I reached 60,000 words and I just said $%^$ I've just go to get through these last chapters and get this thing done.  So I've been writing day and night — as much as I can.

I must say I'm also motivated by the fact I'm going to Toronto for two weeks, leaving April 3.  So the deadline I've given myself for finishing this novel is actually April 2 (after ROW).  So I am still writing away...

But where am I on this last day? 72k baby!  And I've got about five or six chapters left to 6 days.  Can I make it?  Maybe?

I'm not putting too much pressure on myself.  I haven't been feeling that great this last week or so, so even though I'm working, it's not as easily as I would like.....but I'm just going to keep going and hope I make it — if I don't, I don't.  I'll be pretty much done anyways and I'll only have a chapter or two to write when I get back if I don't make it.

All I can say now is how grateful I am that I found this challenge.  Kait Nolan, I am so grateful to you for creating a challenge for writers who have a life. Thank you!  I'm grateful for the lesson you taught me that just doing a bit each day can actually bring me further in the end than going after a huge goal.

Thank you ROWers for all your support and for sharing your own writing challenges and goals with me.  In these past three months I've pretty much written a novel and I'm smiling from ear to ear, looking at the writing world a little differently (in a good way) and so excited for how this challenge will shape my productivity in the future.

Alas, I cannot join #ROW80 for the second round....I'll be travelling too much in April and May.

I leave you then, with IMMENSE gratitude, the possibility of knowing that I may join ROW80 again in the future, and an almost-written-novel I shall now return to.

Good luck everyone participating in the second round, and good luck to all writers, everywhere, near and far.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

So far so good

I ended up with a total of 9,818 words, written over four days for my first week of upping my goals.  That's 182 words away from my new weekly goal of 10,000 words, and I accomplished this writing over just four days instead of five.

Can't say I'm disappointed with it.

If I can keep going like this until I leave for my trip to Toronto, April 3, I will have written a novel in three months!  I want to reach this goal.  It would be absolutely stupendous if I reach this goal.  I'm hopeful I can get there but I don't want to say I will for sure.

For one this is because it was a lot harder for me to write 10,000 words this week then my ROW80 average of about 6,000 words/week.  The second reason is we've got visitors coming, two sets — arriving Wednesday and leaving Sunday, so this will make reaching word count a little more difficult with only three weeks and a few days left to reach my goal.

But what I promise myself is that, to the very best of my ability, I am going to work towards my 2,000 words per day, five days a week goal.  I'm going to treat each day as a new day and each day I'm just going to do what I can to get to where I want to go.  If it happens, awesome.  If it doesn't,  I'm going to try not to be too hard on myself and the next day I'm going to try again.

Last week I ended up doing no writing on Tuesday and so added to my word count goals for the rest of the week.  This works, but as I've learned it makes each writing day a little harder.  If I have to do this I will, but again it's not ideal.

Still if I am able to accomplish this goal and finish this novel by April 2, that will be such a HUGE accomplishment for me.  I've written two novels before this one, the first took me a year.  The second took me, well, let's just say YEARS.  Granted I was working longer hours then (and not on a freelance basis), but still, if I do this it will be such an awesome improvement.

And even if I only almost make it there it will still be a huge improvement.  But I can taste the end of this frist draft and boy do I want to devour the whole thing!!!

Good luck all you fellow ROW80ers this week!  Happy writing. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stepping it up

There is a possibility that if I up my word count by 1,000 words/day to 2,000 words/day, five days a week, I will finish the first draft of this novel by the end of the first round of ROW80 (the end of this month), or shortly thereafter.

I've got some travelling to do in April and most likely again in May, so finishing before my travelling starts would be ideal.

So what am I doing?  I'm stepping it up.

Starting tomorrow I am upping my daily word count to 2,000 words/day, five days a week.

Now, increasing my word count will be a challenge but I definitely know it's doable because I've often written at least 500 words above my word count most days so far during this challenge.  I know this novel will be short and should be sitting at about 80,000 words when all is said and done, and right now I'm just under 40,000.  So the only thing left for me to do now is get to it.

Again, what I've learned is to not put pressure on myself to "finish the novel."  I've learned I get A LOT more done when I just focus on my word count each day and nothing else.

So from here we'll just see what happens.

And in the meantime, as I like to do, some gratitude...

Thank you for the financial means to be able to fly places to visit family and friends.  Thank you for the time to be able to do so as well.  Thank you for an increasing income.  Thank you for the way life moves on and up and backwards and forwards all at once so that there is always so much to be in awe of, to be inspired by, and thank you for how it all culminates into moments of transformation — blessings that stretch beyond my fondest dreams.  Thank you for old friends and new love and how the two can find each other.  Thank you for every single moment that I feel more and more connected to myself, that I can feel truth filling me up so that as I move through space and time, I do so from a place that is authentic.  Thank you for anyone and everyone who accepts me for who I am.  Thank you for my growing acceptance of myself.

Thank you for dreams, BIG dreams.  And thank you for the opportunity to be able to go for them.