Lent 2010: Week 2

Well, crap.

It turns out that I’m much better suited to giving something up than adding something in. I can handle the “withdrawal” issues of giving up chocolate or internet, or soda (not caffeine mind you, with true withdrawal issues) much easier than forcing myself to spend 30 minutes each day writing. Last week I was at 7 of 8, but only 5 of those were “on time”.

This week, I managed to pull off 4 of 7, plus make up for the one missed last week.

On Thursday I wrote more fiction. The story I’m working on is one of those self-indulgent “will never see the light of day” deals triggered by a dream I had after playing a bit too much Dragon Age. It’s not fair to say that it’s fanfic, because it’s all original characters and could be anywhere at any time, but it’s certainly not quality and I’m not bothering to work on the world behind the story at all. I’m sticking with it, though, because it’s the first fiction I’ve written in several months and being all secretive and self-indulgent and letting it be the crappity-crap that it’s become is the best way I can get back into fiction writing.

My hope is by the end of Lent (and possibly before), I’ll be warmed up enough to take another stab at a fairly robust world that I’ve created. There’s still a decent amount of ground-work I’d like to lay before I start writing much of the story. Usually I don’t do quite this much pre-work, but I’d like the story to be more than just a relationship between two primary characters and to do that, I need a web. I’m trying to be more George R. R. Martin and less …oh, let’s go with Stephanie Meyer. It has not escaped me, however, that all this plotting is delaying the actual writing for more nefarious reasons. So long as I don’t write it, it has maximum potential for being awesome. I’m not so paralyzed by this silly dream story, which is why I’m working on it, instead.

Friday I posted a bunch of reviews on Yelp. This almost felt like cheating, since it was 4 or 5 very short efforts that I combined into about 45 minutes of writing. Since it was for an audience other than me, however, I feel like it counts. I was also getting (nicely) nagged by my community leader for not posting anything even though I’d received the “Elite ’10” sticker on my profile. I suspect I’ll be going back to the yelp well a few times this season, assuming I visit enough new places or dig through old ones I haven’t reviewed.

Saturday I did nothing. I’m not sure why.

Sunday I wrote more fiction. I stopped on Thursday in a good spot where I knew what would happen next, hoping (like Hemingway(?) suggested) that I’d easily be able to get going. Sadly, I failed to make any notes about what would happen next, so by the time I got to it, I’d forgotten. I also failed to note anything I’d thought about including on Saturday, so I was a little stuck. Eventually I worked it out and made sure to not only end at a high point on Sunday night, but to also write down where that note was going next.

Monday was a big day. Since Charlotte’s at daycare all day, I can sacrifice some chore or personal time and easily make up a day or more. I started with an article for murmur that’s been ridiculously popular. I can’t take even a portion of the credit. I mostly just opened the floodgates for everyone to talk about their favorite subject: themselves. Also on Monday, I made up for a skipped day in week 1 by whining about my easy pregnancy because it’s only 90% easy instead of 100% on my blog about my kids. Kids. The fact that’s plural is still pretty flipping absurd to me, and #2 isn’t even here yet.

And then…. And then I didn’t write any more this week until late this evening – nearly 3 full days later. Tuesday was more or less understandable, since Tuesdays are my fullest, most brain-stressy days. I still could have smashed a bit of fiction in that evening, but I didn’t. Wednesday I have a great excuse for, and yet not at all. It was another “Charlotte-free day,” but around 12:30 I took a pretty rough tumble and crashed into our TV console. I spent the rest of the day (and coincidentally free evening) lying on the couch playing video games while being both shell-shocked and relieved that I wasn’t spending the time instead in a hospital room dealing with a broken hand, dislocated shoulder, trashed knee, or god forbid, a fall-induced pregnancy complication. Any or all of which it seemed I had just narrowly escaped. Especially the shoulder one. Could I have spent some of those hours writing? Oh sure. I should have, too, but I was just…completely not in the mood. I could have dropped one or two in this afternoon, too, but instead my body decided that I really, really needed to sleep. Worth it.

That means as of completing writing this (which I’m counting – but for Week 3 since it’s Thursday), I’m now 3 behind. That’s not terrible, and it’s easily surmountable so long as I take the time to fix it, but it’s … disheartening.

So what’s the problem? Lots of things. Like I said, it’s much easier for me to be tempted by something restricted and walk away for a couple of moments over and over and over than to sit down and say “do this until it’s done.” It’s a procrastination issue. There will always be more time later in the day, or extra time “tomorrow” to catch up when I’m not feeling in the mood. Except there’s not more time later. Or there is, but I don’t use it. Or there is, but something comes up and I don’t have the chance to take it.

My plan for week 3 is to put myself on a tighter schedule and restrict certain other activities until after my writing is done for the day. I also need to up my reading (from not at all to every day – just like writing). I’ve been tempted to modify this lenten goal to be “read or write every day”, but I feel like I’ve committed to writing and switching it up now is cheating.

Plus, it’s a sneaky way to avoid writing, which is the opposite of the point.

  • When I was studying for the bar exam, i used to sit down and make charts of all the time I was going to devote to studying each particular subject. In reality, I consistently spent about half the time I had budgeted and spent the rest of the time at the swimming pool or watching ‘Daria’ marathons on MTV. (It was the first time I’d ever had my own apartment and I didn’t have to work, it was awesome). I did fine on the exam, and the goals still helped — I had just built in an awful lot of slack.

    So what i’m saying is, it sounds like you’re on the right track even if it’s slower than you want it to be. Also, I’m really glad you didn’t hurt!