The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Pensiero via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Yesterday I dusted off my crystal ball and saw some amazing things.

Lists are king. At least in my world they are. They are how I get things done, keep track of all the minor details and have all the ingredients I need to fix a wonderful meal without having to go back to the store because I forgot something. To say that I am a list junkie is a bit of an understatement, but they do keep me focused. They are also a bit of a ritual.

I don’t make New Year resolutions per se. Instead I make out a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the coming year and I don’t stop there. That list then gets prioritized and broken down into Little Goals and Big Goals. Little Goals are things I can get done in a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Big Goals are those things that take much longer, months, years even. Big Goals are treated much differently than Little Goals.

First, I only take on one Big Goal at a time. This is the thing that I will spend 80% of my time working on. Everything else gets the remaining 20%. You see the key to my lists is that I want to get things D-O-N-E, done. In the past, I have tried working on multiple Big Goals and nothing seems to ever get done. There is a reason for that. It has to do with time and the perception of success.

Consider the table below. Say I have 160 hours to work on my goals in a month. So, working on five goals that each take a month to complete if I work on them evenly, I will be 20% done with each goal at the end of the first month. At the end of five months all five goals are 100% complete. In theory.

table-1

But I will guarantee you, I know how my little pea brain works and by the end of Month #2, I will have given up on a couple of them. Working this way, I will be lucky to have two of the goals 100% complete by Month #5.

Now consider this table.

table-2

Same five goals that each take a month to complete. But here I only work on one goal in the first month. At the end of the month I have one goal D-O-N-E, done. Success! Then the same thing happens in Month #2, D-O-N-E, done. Success! Using this approach I am a goal obliterating superstar! At the end of Month #5 you had better believe that all five goals will be 100% complete. (Since I am a now a goal obliterating superstar I may have even added a goal or two.)

They say success breeds success and I am here to tell you that is absolutely correct. So, what happens when the one Big Goal that I am working on is going to take five months? Easy Pease. I just break that down into what I want to accomplish in each of the five months.

And then I take it one step further. Those monthly goals are broken down by week and day. Just like with Nano. How do you write 50,000 words in one month? You schedule to write 1,667 words every day. In theory.

I know that I am not a machine and there is no way I am going to be able to keep up with that schedule. Life gets in the way and your best friend who you haven’t seen in ages comes to spend the weekend. Do you think I am going to tell her “No”, “Don’t come I have to write 1,667 words”? Absolutely not. She is going to come and we will be up past our normal bedtimes doing girl stuff and I won’t write a word.

To make sure that life can happen and I still reach my goals, I schedule buffers, and catch-up days. For Nano I scheduled 2,500 words per day for 20 days. Still very do-able, and it gave me 10 days for life and to catch-up on those days that I couldn’t come up with even 500 words.

Yesterday’s gaze into the crystal ball reached well into 2019. Three whole years! Amazing! To get there I must take care of what is on the list for today. What happens in the future depends on what I do today.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo The Saga Continues

Photo credit: savanasdesign via VisualHunt / CC BY

Photo credit: savanasdesign via VisualHunt / CC BY

After 30 days of writing for Nano, I took a little break. My brain felt like mush and I figured that I might need to relax, get some laundry done and catch up on those things that had slid to the bottom of the list. However, the whole time I was catching up all I could think about was getting my book finished. To be honest I started to feel a little guilty about not writing. I had worked so hard to get to the first goal and now more than a couple of days have gone by without adding to the word count.

Apparently, I am not a patient person. I want this done now! Today is about re-organization and re-dedication. I am not sure that I can write at the pace set by Nano, especially with the holidays only a few weeks away, but I am anxious to get the story finished and start on the editing process. I am mapping out my schedule for the next 26 days and I am going to attempt to have the first draft completed by New Year’s Eve!

How is that for a goal?

What are you doing now that Nano pressure has worn off?

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NoNoWriMo Lessons Learned

Photo credit: toddwendy via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: toddwendy via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

I barely made the word count to win. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days was challenging and something I had never done before. Everything considered, I am happy with just making the goal. I don’t know of anyone who would attempt a marathon without doing some training and conditioning to prepare for the race. And yet, that is exactly what I didn’t do, I didn’t train for this event. Over the past thirty days, I have learned some valuable lessons I will apply in my writing.

  1. Some days are going to be a wonderful. On these golden days, I will be able to write 3,800 words (my best day). The words fly from my fingertips, the story progresses and when I re-read the next day, I am thrilled with what I have written.
  2. Some days will be fraught with issues. My research didn’t cover some detail that I need in the story and I can’t seem to find the information. Or I don’t know where the story needs to go next, or I end up fighting with my characters, all of which result in only a few hundred words. (my worst day 500 words). The next day’s re-read will then, of course, reveal numerous typos, skipped words, or something that just doesn’t make sense and needs to be deleted or re-written.
  3. Sit, Stay, Write. Writing every day keeps the wheels turning. There were days when the very act of sitting down to write got me past the section I was worried about. This happened on more than one occasion and lead to some days with decent output.
  4. It is ok to abandon a section to come back to later. This happened early in the month. I was slogging thru a part that was heavy in research and validatiaon. I got so far and just could not force myself to continue. I knew where the story was going next, and I wanted to get to it. I pretended that part was written and skipped ahead to the next section. Viola, I was on my way and I can go back and finish that section this month.
  5. It is important to leave time for fun. During the month, three were a few days where I had the urge to write something a little different from my novel. The characters in my loft was a good example. I knew if I didn’t write it, the story would lose the spontaneity that I felt. The very act of getting that story out of my head, cleared the way to a productive writing session.
  6. There is nothing that I would rather do. I love the process of writing and the ability to tell the stories that have been cluttering my mind. Not only do I feel like I am creating something, I feel like I am finally going to be able to put down the load I have been carrying with me for so long. Until I started this process, I thought my story was one book. Now, I know it is three. That is some load.
  7. To write you must be courageous. Writing is a part of me that I have been carrying around and nurturing for a long time. Now I am putting it down and plan to send it out into the world. What if no one likes it? So far, the few sections that I have shared have been well received. I know I still have a lot to face in this department.
  8. Having goals is a good thing. Now that I am this far, I can’t wait to finish this story. I am anxious to finish and move on to the editing. Besides, I have two more books I need to get written. That means that I still need some writing goals. I will be setting my goals for December keeping the Christmas holiday season in mind. Don’t think I will shooting for anything like 50,000 words this month.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo Day 30

Photo credit: prb10111 - awol via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: prb10111 – awol via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Just validated my total word count with a half an hour to spare!

Total for 30 days of writing…

                        50,508

Congrats to all who have participated. Time for a little party. Even if you didn’t quite make the goal (like I almost didn’t) you have probably written more that you would have without NaNoWriMo.

Please join me in the celebration and leave your word count below.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

 

NaNoWriMo Day 29

Photo credit: You As A Machine via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: You As A Machine via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

We are down to the wire. Working hard to make the deadline.

I am still writing tonight but I wanted to post to let you all know just how close I am.

Word count for November 29, is:

2,500 words. Twenty-nine-day total 48,000.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo Day 27

Photo credit: ClaraDon via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: ClaraDon via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Working feverishly in my attempt to hit the targeted word count. Yesterday was a decent day and I am still working on today’s count.

Word count for November 27, is:

2,500 words. Twenty-seven-day total 43,800.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo Day 26

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. — Christopher Columbus

Photo credit: Phil Roeder via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: Phil Roeder via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

It is time to get back to work. Friends, family and Thanksgiving I wouldn’t miss for the world. Life is after all about relationships and spending time with the people that you care about. Even with all the festivities there is a feeling that can’t be dismissed. The urge to create, to do something special, won’t be silenced.

I am being called back to my loft and back to the writing. The good news is I come back to it with renewed energy and sense of purpose. The story must be told.

I may still have a way to go to get to my chosen goal, but I will arrive.  I hope you are closer to your goal.

Word count for November 26, is:

500 words. Seventeen-day total 41,300.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo Day 17

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”― Winston Churchill

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

The last few days have been rather daunting. Research that doesn’t quite pan out. Distractions and more distractions. Low word count. Questioning my sanity in making this decision. Knowing that the only way out is through.

So, I will soldier on. When I look behind me I know that there is no going back. The answer is in the writing and I am determined to find it.

What do you do to get past these slumps?

Word count for November 17, is:

800 words. Seventeen-day total 34,300.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo Day 15

ancient-lamp-with-silver-jug-and-books-on-tableI have been working late into the night doing more research.  So of course the word count is suffering today.  Details, details, details.

Word count for November 15, is:

1,200 words. Fifteen-day total 32,200.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

NaNoWriMo Day 14

Photo credit: biscorogus via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: biscorogus via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Over the last couple of days, I became an involuntary volunteer.   I was nominated to puppy sit. Now if I had been asked, as is normally the custom with this type of thing, my response would have been “no thank you”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. The unfortunate problem with some pets are the owners. This puppy just turned a year old and unless you are holding a treat in front of him, he does not know the meaning of the word “sit”. “Come”, and “stay” are equally foreign to the pooch.

I know it is a lot of work to train a puppy. After adopting a Shetland Sheepdog at the age of six months who was barley house broken, I have learned a thing or two. Still, by the time the Sheltie was a year-old I could walk her off lead with no issues. Well, except for the time we flushed a nest of baby bunnies. She was so disappointed that she was not able to herd them all back together.

She knew “sit”. “Stay” was a real challenge for her, but she was good for about twenty-five feet. Of course, she was never happier than when I called “come”. Walking her was a joy, as I knew that she would always be to heel.

Walking this puppy is an arm wrenching tug of war, who by the way, must weigh in around sixty pounds. By the time he left he was doing better, but without daily, consistent, reinforcement, it will soon be forgotten.

It is the same with writing.   Do it daily. Be consistent. Let the process reinforce itself. “Sit”. “Stay”. “Write”. As I do this every day, it is starting to transform from a tug of war, to joy. Prepare yourself though. There will be the day when you flush a nest of baby bunnies, or find yourself volunteered for something you were not expecting.

I hope you are finding it to be the same for you.

Word count for November 14, is:

2,500 words. Fourteen-day total 31,000.

Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer