10 September 2014

Excuses, excuses

I just got back from two and a half months in Europe.
I've been worried about/dealing with my lost luggage. 
I was driving all over the state and then getting settled into my friends' house in Portland. 
I have a cold. 
After having scaled back on work this summer, I'm trying to reestablish a work schedule.

These are the excuses I've been using over the last two weeks to avoid writing. I realize it might sound like I'm being hard on myself, considering all of the above excuses are 100% true. Certainly I want to be kind to myself and acknowledge when there are extenuating circumstances. But if I'm honest, I have had at least one hour to write most days. I just haven't been doing it. I haven't been prioritizing it. Why not?

A few of reasons that I can identify. First, I'm out of practice and therefore feeling the pull of inertia. Second, I'm back in that psychological place of putting pressure on myself to produce because I want to get this first draft done and am therefore paralyzed by the idea that I might not produce enough in a writing session or might produce crap or - worst of all - might not produce anything at all. And third, I have to admit, I'm a little burnt out on working exclusively on my pseudonym's novels. When do I get to work on my speculative fiction short stories again? Or put together my chapbook of poetry?? Or revise/write some more creative nonfiction??? Sigh.

What I need to make progress: I need to remind myself (yet again!) that my job isn't to produce heaps of quality writing; it's to show up every day. That's number one. Number two is that I need to mix things up a bit. I still want to finish the novel I've been working on as soon as possible, but in order to alleviate the burnout, I also need to give myself time to show up to some of my other writing projects. It does no good to stifle my creativity by being overly rigid. So the third thing I need is a new production schedule.

Which leads me to this week's...

ROW80 update
"A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life."

As I mentioned in my goals post for this round, I'm taking it a month at a time. My original goals for September were:
Revise pseudonym's WIP2 (Sept. 3-19) and send to copy editor. 2 hrs/day on this.  
Because I'm not done with the first draft of the WIP2 yet and need some variety in my writing life, I'm revising this first goal. New goal: Create and stick to new production schedule that includes at least 5 hrs/wk of work on pseudonym's WIP2. By next week's check-in I'll have the production schedule figured out and will have spent some time showing up to the WIP2 (and to at least one other project).

Walk at least an hour a day with my puppy dog, Milton. 
This is still a goal, but I'm going to go back to using ROW80 exclusively for goals related to my writing life.

Three blog posts per week - 2 here, 1 on the travel blog (to document reverse culture shock).
Yes, I still want to do this. I have two posts in mind for the travel blog that I haven't gotten around to writing yet - one about the journey home and one about food, water and air in the three cities I spent the most time in this summer. In terms of this blog, I want/need to get back into posting things that are going to be more interesting and relevant to my clients and potential clients. Things like interviews with writers, interesting writing resources on the web, new (or at least new-to-me) writing tools, more on writer's block and writing processes, etc. I think the best thing would be for me to come up with a list of topics I want to post about and people I want to invite to write guests posts or do interviews and go from there. So my tasks for the rest of this week are to create this list and to write & publish one of those travel blog posts. 

New Goal: Reestablish a sense of writing community. This might look like going to readings while I'm in Portland, spending more time connecting with other writers via social media, co-working dates with my writer friends, participating in #writeclub on Fridays on Twitter, reading and commenting on other people's ROW80 posts...stuff like that. I'm not sure yet how exactly I want to tackle it, and it might look different every week. If I end up not being very on top of this goal week after week, I'll revise it to be more specific, but for now I want to allow myself some flexibility.

Also, this beautiful post by my Twitter friend @Dammit_Woman is inspiring and a good reminder to me of the support and community I can find on Twitter.

This is a blog hop! Click here to see other ROW80 participants' check-ins from this week.


  1. I somewhat can relate.For me summer is mostly: "Meh. Writing, go in the corner. Shhh. Don't talk, writing. Pretend you don't exist. Wait your turn." Then summer ends and I can write almost every day again. That whole getting into the flow once more can be tricky. I agree with your low pressure method. I try to do the same.

    I wish you luck getting back in the swing of things.

  2. After all your travelling and moving through different cultures, you may need some downtime to process everything and re-acclimatise to home. So don't be too hard on yourself. Perhaps making a weekly goal for the next week or two while you get used to being home might help, then you can ramp it up to a monthly goal once again.