Blog No. 71
71 isn’t usually a number that demands a lot of fanfare. It certainly isn’t 75 and it’s definitely not 100. But I’ve hit the 71 blog post mark and it’s pretty good. I’m sure I’ll look back from 250 and think how quaint it all was, but for now, I’m happy with my continuing progress – especially since I have slipped so far in my other writing. I’m sill past what I was doing last year, but January was such a good month and I’ve fallen pretty far since then. I could see if it was for a good reason, but I’ve got nothing. There are some time suckers in my life and some of them are time wasters too, but I really have no one to blame but myself.
Before I get too far into things I wanted to say something about the way outside smelled this morning. Today is the first day of spring and, while we have had a few consecutive days above freezing, it smelled like winter when I left the house for work. I’m not sure exactly what that smell is (my best description would be the ozone type sent you’d get from the freezer) but I recognized it right away. Before you start yelling that you’ve had enough of winter and that it is bad luck or something, I’m just calling it how I see it. I think there are going to be a few more days of cold before we get into the lousy spring weather. Besides, I have a lot more memories of cold and frosty first days of spring than spring like days.
I wanted to talk about writing though, so I should get back to the topic. I’ve been slipping and there are lots of little reasons. Mostly it comes down to lack of discipline and a certain amount of intimidation. I spend way too much time watching TV and playing video games and not enough time on responsibilities. When I do turn the TV off I usually have too much other work to catch up on to have lots of time to write. I want to blame Netflix, but I’d probably be watching whatever crap my antenna would be picking up anyway, so I can’t. I know there is an easy solution (just turn the darn thing off and write) but after a day of work or early on a day off, it’s just so easy to flip on Netflix or jump into a game. The problem isn’t that I watch TV or play games, it’s that I’ve been spending too much time on them (a problem I think a lot of people face). I feel like I’m kind of stuck right now though.
I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in getting stuck. The easy solution is to write through it, but I still don’t think I’m good enough. I need to write more to get better, so I’ve been powering through some short stories. Hopefully it will work like those video games I’ve been spending so much time playing. I’ll get some exp (experience points) from each story I defeat and then I’ll level up and be a better writer. I may also find a special item in my quest (how cool would that be)? It’s a new tactic for the year I’ve been working on. Write a short story each month then use the rest of the month to work on the novel, but I am still on chapter five – though I should be cracking out at least a paragraph every time I sit down. It’s a good way to make progress when you are seemingly stuck.
I know I’m going to have to go back and rewrite a lot, and I’m dreading it. It is probably adding to my inability to push through. I’ve never written a novel before, and I’ve never done any hard core editing (self editing or otherwise). I’m still kind of new to the whole regular writing thing (though this post is all about how I’m not writing so regularly) which is why I am leaning towards continuing on the short stories and letting the novel sit in the back seat for a while. I’m not stopping the novel, I’m just letting it settle while I work on writing more. I still think I can get the first draft done this year (if I give it a really good push for the last half) but I’m still going to spend some dedicated time picking at it (and hope for that breakthrough). It won’t happen if I can’t get a handle on my wasted time.
There are some other things adding to my lack of writing progress; I got a new phone that I spend a couple of solid days playing with (but it really I should end up saving time from how much faster it is than my old one) and I started playing board games with some friend again (we used to get together regularly). I haven’t been reading as much or working out as regularly and that tends to hinder my writing. It all amount to the same thing though. I’m spending too much time on things that take me away from writing (even though some of the activates help to make a full life and others – in moderation – just keep people sane) and not enough time on the writing. I have managed to keep up with this blog though. I’m pretty happy with that. 71!