November has seen an interesting turn in my writing life. I’ve written before about trying to find time, and various other aspects of how I get my writing on. But a few things have changed in November and I thought it was worth writing about it.
I was considering doing NaNoWriMothis year, as I was in the middle of re-working a junior fiction novel I’d written a few years ago and thought it might give me the motivation to power through it. It might have been cheating, though, because I was already 10,000 words into a 30,000 word novel. I set up an account and started to realise all the things you do when you’re participating. I was overcome with a sense of “I barely have time for writing as it is, all of this community and sharing is going to be more distracting than helpful” (for me, at this stage). So I ended up deleting my account. I do want to do it in the future. Maybe next year I’ll be in more of a position to get involved, but right now trying to cut down on my social media time because it takes away from writing.
I also noticed the way my days are structured. When it came to my allotted writing time (when I finish all my paperwork for the day, before I join my partner for dinner) I honestly just wanted to get away from the computer. I wanted to switch off and not think. Writing wasn’t happening. So, against every natural instinct, I started setting my alarm a bit earlier. I always used to get up at 7:00 most days, then I would faff about on the internet for about an hour before starting what I needed to do for work.
Now, I get up at 6:30 and don’t touch social media until I’ve done an hour of writing. I don’t turn on the Wi-Fi or data on my phone until I’m done (I turn them off while I sleep) and so there’s no notifications to distract me. This has proven brilliant! I get an hour of writing done. Then for the rest of the day, I have that sense of accomplishment. I don’t feel guilty that I don’t feel like it when I finish work for the day, because I’ve already done it. Admittedly, I don’t think my brain is at its best in the morning (I am very much not a morning person), but I’m getting better.
This has also meant that the calendar that I mark days I get writing done had solid green ticks on it for most of November. (I went to Sydney for a few days and nothing got done at all – it threw a spanner in the works). But I’m back on track now and can keep going with my new schedule.
Also this month, I came across anarticle about podcasts that writers should be listening to. I’ve never listened to podcasts before, so I thought I’d give them a go. I got myself a great app called Podcast Addict and subscribed to the ones mentioned in the post. It’s great! Now, as I drive (which I do A LOT) I listen to podcasts which give me hints, tips, techniques and encouragement and I feel like that time spent in the car is much more productive. I’m still working my way through those ones, but if you know of any others that are great for writers, or just interesting bookish ones, please let me know.
So, with all of that, I’m feeling better about my productivity.
Well, I was until I hit a block with the story I’m working on right before I went to Sydney. The kind where all you can see is how everything is wrong and no way to fix it. (It was partly why no writing got done while I was away). I also got a rejection email or two. Ones I was entirely expecting, but don’t feel any better for expecting them.
So now I need to make the decision: Do I continue to labour over the book I’ve been working on in the last month or two? Do I rework the novel I’ve been editing and reworking for the last two or three years and incorporate the feedback from the rejection? Or to I give myself a break and work on something entirely new and come back to both novels down the line when I’m more confident in my abilities. Because despite knowing that all I want to do is write, I’m constantly wondering if I’m actually any good at it. I’ve always known that rejections are part of the process, but they’re not exactly confidence boosters.
Anyway, I will power on. And one day, it will be an entirely different kind of email that I’ll receive. The week wasn’t all bad. I was also voted (joint) Rep Of The Year by the Victorian ABA. That makes me feel really good.