Monday, November 12, 2007

Progress, Again, And Some Resolutions

So it's been a week since I've done any writing. Terrible, I know. Three and a half all-new pages today, though, and I also edited the four-and-a-half pages from last time. At this rate, I won't finish this novel for years to come. What can I say, I think this was just yet another temporary setback. More unexpected life events. One of my relatives accidentally shot himself, for one thing. He's okay, and it's not something he'd like me talking about, I'm sure, but that definitely threw me off. That, plus work stuff, plus holiday stuff...

Man. Makes me worry about how productive this holiday season can possibly be for my writing. Seems like there is always something new coming up these days. If writing was a full-time job, it would be no problem, but with so much of my time already obligated elsewhere, it does create pressure. At least I don't have kids yet -- I am in awe of those writers who somehow become published while working and raising kids.

At any rate, to increase my odds of coming even remotely close to my writing goals, I've made several resolutions. First, I'm cutting out television time. I'm not sure how this happened, but somehow in the last year I started watching a lot of TV. For about seven years in recent history I didn't watch any at all, so I don't know what happened there. I don't really even enjoy most TV shows that much, but it seemed like such a nice, mindless retreat after a hard day of designing software and programming and such. It became my habit to treat TV like some sort of recharging device, to let my mind idle and rest between getting off work and sitting down to write.

The thing is, after two hours of TV in the early evening (yes, sad, I know) I was usually just as tired as I was before I started, and frankly TV isn't very inspirational when it comes to writing (ahem). Plus if there was anything else I wanted/needed to do that evening, like household chores, errands, exercise, pleasure reading, or just spending time with my wife, that was going to cut into my writing time. Ick! It was making me feel like I was under very great pressure to do writing in all my spare time, but like I had very little spare time at all.

Somehow it didn't occur to me to just cut out the TV time until this weekend. Instead of TV, I did all those other things I wanted to do. If I was too tired to do any of that, well, I'd just let myself fall asleep for a brief nap, and wake up feeling really recharged. It's amazing what even just fifteen or thirty minutes of sleep can do for your body. So far so good on this approach, even though I haven't been using it for long -- I certainly don't miss the TV, anyway, and I doubt that will become an issue again. It's like when I became addicted to morning caffeine (like so many Americans) without realizing it: after about four years I saw what had happened, and I was able to quickly cut out the caffeine and haven't looked back (though now that I'm thoroughly detoxed I'm once again able to enjoy an occasional sweet tea or mocha latte). Sometimes these bad habits, many of which current society frankly encourages, just sneak up on you.

My hope is that, even with all the extra personal time commitments I'm going to have during the coming holiday season, I'll be able to maintain a good writing pace (and my sanity) by having cut out the "dead weight" of my daily schedule. Hopefully there should be plenty of time for merrymaking, relaxing/recharging, as well as writing during this schedule. And maybe I'll be able to accomplish some other things, like some art that I have in mind, and some new code for my uncle's robot, without cutting into that writing time.

You know, becoming a novelist really requires a level of commitment like no other career I can think of. Although, becoming an editor or an agent is close.

The stats as of today:
-38,750 estimated words.
-45,025 actual words.
-Seven and a portion fully-revised-and-expanded chapters (120 pages total).
-155 pages in all.


Stephen Parrish said...

I am in awe of those writers who somehow become published while working and raising kids.

Me too. The complexity of your life will TRIPLE when a kid comes along.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your relative - what a terrible thing! Hope he recovers soon.

And it's good to see you getting back to some writing and reassessing the space you make for it in your life. I'm only managing to be so productive because I'm currently unemployed elsewhere - but I am job-hunting, and once I *do* start a new job... well, things will change!

Christopher M. Park said...

So I've heard, Stephen. It's something I definitely look forward to, but I'm really hoping that other aspects of my life are able to settle down first. Such as, it would be nice to be a full-time writer. But that's every aspiring writer's pipe dream, right?

Christopher M. Park said...

Thanks, Karen. Fortunately he is well on the road to recovery after his surgery, so things went much better than they could have.

I'm really impressed with how much progress you've been making lately -- taking advantage of your extra free time is a really smart thing! Hopefully when you start your next job, you'll have enough of your novel planted that you can still finish it off as quickly as you are hoping. By the way, are you searching for another librarian job, or changing fields? (That's what you did, right?)

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

We are almost dead even, Chris.

Get back up on that horse and ride.

Christopher M. Park said...

Thanks, Dwight, you bet I'm planning on that! I read about your 8K push this past weekend -- great stuff!

Karen Mahoney said...

Am sort-of changing fields, but it's more of a sidestep. The part of library work I liked best was working with children and schools (school visits, etc.), so I'm looking at Teaching Assistant work as a possibility...

Christopher M. Park said...

Oh, cool! My wife is also looking for that kind of job right now, too. She's studying to get her teaching license, and wants to get a job as an assistant with the public school system while she does that. Best of luck!