writing

The excuses we make

On January 1, I challenged myself to write 500 words, every day, no excuses. I have never been one to stick to word count goals, so why I thought I would be able to achieve this one, I had no idea.

Perhaps coming of the high in November of finishing Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) where I had to write 1,667 words a day to meet the 30-day, 50,000-word goal, I was cocky? 500 words a day was pittance in comparison to what I’d pulled off in November. Surely, I could do that?

The difference, I am slowly realizing, is that with Nano, your words accumulated…you might right 2,000 words one day, and 50 the next, but you could still meet your goal because the word count rolled over. That is not the case with this challenge. I need to write AT LEAST 500 words a day, every day. No days off. I can write more in a day (and have) but putting in less or, gasp, zero on the spreadsheet was not allowed.

And for twelve days straight, I was rabid about getting those words in as you can see.

I was doing the thing!

Then day thirteen hit me and I made, what I learned was to be a bad move in this word count game. Instead of writing first thing in the morning, as I had been doing, I watched Outlander instead. (I HAD TO!!! Else I be hit with spoilers on social media!) After getting my weekly dose of Jamie, I puttered around, did some other non-writing things. I decided to put off editing until the afternoon. Solid plan.

From 12:00-3:00, I picked up, and put down not one, but two book edits (my planned source for those new words.) I even took a brief nap to ward off the sleepy Sunday doldrums. Nothing was working. I just wanted to curl up on the couch, finish the book I was reading and let my brain not think about writing.

In hindsight, (that clear little devil) I should have put off Outlander until the afternoon and instead focused on my words/editing. I am up before the sun and ready to go after a good night’s sleep. In those pre-dawn mornings, I am more motivated and productive. By lunchtime, what comes out is sludge.

In those later hours, too, I’ve noticed, it’s easier to convince yourself to take a break. Way too easy. The mere thought of putting a task off until tomorrow ‘when you’re fresh’ it takes root and your brain begins to thwart your attempts to do all the things and move onto things that aren’t so hard, like a good book or Netflix.

Suddenly the goal I’d set for myself was slipping out of my grasp. I was going to fail, and it had barely just begun.

So, what did I do? I compromised. My brain didn’t seem to want to edit old words, but maybe I could make them write new ones…The very words you’re reading now. My almost failure turned into my Tuesday blog post. Take that word count chart. I’m logging these 524 words with pride.

1 thought on “The excuses we make”

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