Writer’s Boot Camp Day 27

Today’s topic is “resistance from other people”.  The author talks about how people don’t like change,  how our friends and family might want to be supportive, but they will actually push back against anything that messes up the stability of their lives.  They are super happy you are working on something that is important to you, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of you being the person they are used to you being.  

This isn’t actually a problem for me currently.  My parents are dead. I don’t have children. Aside from a few holidays my nieces and nephews don’t “expect” me to be around.  I have a lot of friends, but not a lot of steady dates with them. I don’t have a yoga class or weekly coffee date sort of thing with anyone.  I generally hang out with a few friends over the weekend and go to a few parties. So far writing hasn’t really gotten in the way of my social life much.  I was too busy to host ritual last month, so I guess a few people noticed that.

I know that the time I’m spending on my writing has had an affect on my boyfriend.  I’ve had to write during times when he was visiting me, or I’ve had to write while he was driving us to some events. But mostly I work on things when he isn’t around, we have about 3 night a week that we spend together and I can work around them without too much trouble.  

I live alone, so no one notices and is hurt if I don’t do the domestic things.  No one notices if I stay up really late or work at odd hours. No one cares if I eat, or when.  

When I was married my husband was both great for my writing and horrible for it.  He was awesome in that he is an avid reader of the sorts of things I write and therefore able to give good feedback.  He is great at spelling and grammars, so was a super helpful editor. There have been days this past month when I have missed him so much.  I felt like he “got” my writing and when I wrote something he was proud of me and excited to read it. I think he liked the idea of being married to a writer, too.  I’ve had to stop myself from talking to him about my work and emailing him stuff, especially a poem I finished recently that he would have loved. Divorce is hard, even though he has been gone over a year in some ways I am just not used to him not being here.  No one likes my writing as much as he did. Other people in my life care that I’m doing something important to me, they care that I’m accomplishing my goals, but no one actually cares about my stories like he did.

However, Rachel Federman is correct about the resistance from a spouse too.  When I was really into writing, like doing NANO or writing for Dryden our relationship would get strained.   He would notice if I didn’t clean enough during the day, he would get annoyed if I didn’t want to take the time to make dinner with him or do things together in the evening.  He didn’t understand the emotional strain of writing. I remember one of our worst fights was when I got rejected for a story I was sure I was going to be accepted for. I cried and he tried to make me feel better. When I wouldn’t just feel better, when I kept being sad he got really mad.  He didn’t understand why it was such a big deal or why his attempt at comforting me didn’t fix it.   I didn’t write much for a while after that.

So, anyway, today’s topic isn’t really a problem for me.  Which is a good thing for my writing, because being alone is probably the best way to get things done.  But is bad for me in other ways. I feel jealous of people who have happy marriages or close families. I often feel very isolated and I don’t feel like I have many people interested in reading my stories and giving me constructive feedback.

I’m working today (Full-time day job), so I’m working on the blog post during my lunch break.  I’ll have to do the other writing after work. Today I’m going to do some research on the next place I’m scheduled to submit to, decide if I can edit something I already have or if I need to write something new.  Then I’ll get to work on that.

*******

Looking through my super fancy writing planner I found 4 stories that would be a good possible fit for this call.  Two of them are finished but need editing and 2 aren’t finished. I have 3 days to get something ready and sent, so I don’t have time to write a new piece.  

I’m going to pick one and try to clean it up tomorrow.  If anyone wants to be a reader I will always appreciate it.  

Total writing time 1 hour and 7 minutes.

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 26

Yesterday was a busy and fun-filled as I said it would be.  I went to a fan convention, had dinner with my niece and made it to the last few hours of my friend’s Luau.  There are lots of Luau’s this time of year, more going on today! 

The theme of day 26 is  “LIving the Questions”. The author mentioned Rainer Maria Rilke.  I searched the mighty google and found the passage she is talking about.  

“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke was a Bohemian poet who wrote from around 1900 to his death in 1926.  I’ve never read any of his work, but now it’s on the list. This quote very beautifully expresses my concepts of Future Kitty.  I am always aware that out there in the future is a different me unless of course, I die soon. I spend a lot of time thinking about that future me and being angry that I’m not her, and that becoming her seems impossible.   I have tons on questions I ask myself all the time, questions that can’t be answered now, they can only be answered in the future.

The author put in the proverb “The obstacle is the path” about writing.  Today I wish I could just type up everything she says on day 26 because it resonated so much.  Instead I’ll try to sum it up into my own words. I want to be a writer, so I write to figure out if I can be.  The biggest challenge to writing is writing. The thing I’m most often thinking about when I am writing is writing.  

When you are having writer’s block the best thing to do, the thing you most want to do, is write about it.  When I haven’t written for a while I have a tendency to go to facebook and write about how I haven’t been writing.  When I am writing I have a lot of anxiety about writing. Am I working on the right projects? Am I writing well? Will anyone ever read it?

The obstacle is the path.  The thing standing between you and your goal is every tiny step you have to take to reach the end.  A tree that might have fallen across the path is an obstacle, but so is the flat ground, so are the paved parts, so is the bubbling little stream.  The whole path is the obstacle. I guess if the path leads to something, maybe a moderately successful novel, then each step of the path is filled with the anxiety and weight of the goal.  At any point you can turn back of course, you can give up on the goal and thereby give up that anxiety.  Which is tempting. 

The author says that “writing makes us anxious”  and that when you do it you have to be ok with that.  Sometimes while doing these posts I feel like there is someone wrong with me because of how much self-doubt I have, how sad I feel that no one reads my posts, how much I must really suck.  I feel like other writers can’t possibly feel this way.  That the great ones must have always known they would be great. I worry that my insecurity is proof that I will always fail. 

I feel bad when my writing gets in the way of other people.  Yesterday I left the house for MomoCon way later than I wanted because I needed to write,  today I know my boyfriend wants to go out and do stuff but he has to wait until I finish writing if he wants to do stuff with me.  

Rachel Federman (the author of Writer’s Boot Camp)  goes on to talk about what blocked her from writing and it is exactly the same as me.  Like, this could be me she is writing about. I am a people pleaser, I want people, friends or strangers to be happy with me.  I want to always show up for my friend’s shows or parties, I want to always buy something when I go into a shop. I want to always leave a big tip.  I want to do you a favor, the bigger the favor and the more it hurts me the better!  I am like a machine, where you put in a praise/appreciation coin and I will do whatever you want. I want to help you clean your house, I want to bake you cookies, help you move, plan your party, listen to you talk about your problems.  I want to sacrifice and have people appreciate me, need me and never abandon me.

I bend over backwards because I want the people I care about to care about me,  to love me. I want you to get so much use and value out of me that you can’t abandon me. I get taken advantage of because I don’t want to be alone. Sadly, even at my best, trying my hardest I’m not worth enough to keep the people I love. 

Back to the point…

There are two reason why I am bad at making time for writing.

 

  1. It causes anxiety.  Writing brings up all these hard emotions, self-doubts and fears.  It turns my gaze inwards and triggers bad memories. It makes me feel like the Hulk: “I don’t get a suit of armor. I’m exposed, like a nerve. It’s a nightmare.”
  2. No one appreciates it.  Not that they should of course,  and that’s the point. I’m not doing it as a favor to anyone.  I’m spending hours a day working hard on something, hurting myself emotionally, feeling stressed, missing out on fun things, letting my house get messy, skipping the gym and I don’t get the satisfaction on knowing I did it for someone I care about.  I don’t get any “thank you”. And that really fucking sucks.

To be a writer one has to value the future over the present and be selfish.  I’m a self-sacrificing, have fun now sort of person. Being a good writer by its necessity means you will be lonely often.  And that, of course, like so many things currently, makes me angry.

Today during my writing time I have to submit one or more poems. But first I think I need a short break.  

It turned into a very long break, I went to diner, a movie and grocery shopping. I was stalling. But I submitted 2 poems, with 6 whole minutes before the deadline!  

Total writing time today 2 hours 23 minutes.

 

Total writing time was

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 25

I need to do this before I leave the house today,  but I went outside to look at something and ended up playing with my peach trees,  which are not supposed to look like this by the way. This is what happens when you don’t do the yearly trimming for 2 years in a row.  I wanted to have the writing all done before 10 a.m. so I could shower and go out to an event, but instead, I’m starting at 10 a.m. I might have to work on this in the car on the way.  

Today’s topic is that you don’t have to quiet the voices.  We all have little voices in our heads telling us things and there is very little we can do to stop that.  Because they are not of course voices they are thoughts, and you certainly don’t want to stop thinking right?  I guess most people think about several things at a time. I am normally thinking about 2 things, but sometimes a many as 4 things at a time.  When I am writing it’s important to focus on one of them, but you can’t turn off the other. No matter how exciting the scene I’m writing I still know my leg hurts. No matter how dramatic my character is being I still know that I have to feed the cats,  or that I need to take something out of the freezer to thaw, or that I need to make a phone call before the doctor’s office closes at 5 p.m. Also, no matter how hard I am trying to write something good I still have inner critics, who say things like “ok, so the story is interesting, but you write like an 8-year-old”  or “No one is ever going to want to read this” or “you are worthless, no one wants you, no one wants your work, you should just die”

Today, for example, I need to focus on poetry but my legs have itchy mosquito bites on them. And Ninja keeps climbing around my desk, so I have to pick her up and put her in my lap, but then I have to keep petting her with one hand or she gets back up on my desk.  And I don’t know what to wear to MomoCon today, there is a Steven Universe photoshoot, so I should probably dress as Peridot, but that will add almost an extra hour to getting ready. And I will be in a heavy wig all day, and I’ll get a headache, and I don’t want a headache.  What time should I leave to get home in time to feed the cats, change and go to event #2? Or should I not do event #2? Should I text one of my friends and see if he wants to go too? Should I take anti-anxiety medication today, there will be lots of people there? Should I submit the poems today or do it tomorrow?  Why am I so bad at poetry? Should I not submit them at all? Is submitting anything just stupid, and wastes people’s time? Will I have time to see Deadpool between all the other stuff, because I really want to see Deadpool. Am I going to have any time to pack this weekend, I need to pack and take some stuff to the storage building?  

So, that is the state of my mind.  I wish I had someone to help me or work with on stuff together, like a partner.  It would help with the focus I think, or maybe not, who knows? I’m feeling really unsure about my work, about submitting these poems.  Yesterday I thought the one was really good and today I think it is shit, and I’m embarrassed to even be thinking about submitting it. I wish I had someone who I could talk to about these feelings.  I’m feeling strangely isolated today, and that always makes me feel a little angry.

Any way, the plan for the rest of my writing time, if I don’t just start crying, is to look at the submission guidelines and get the formatting and all that shit correct.  Then I’m going to read the poem out loud to myself and see how I feel about it and make all the edits.  Then work on the other poem if I get time.

I only had time to do the one, but I think it’s well and truly finished now.  I would like to submit two, but at least I know I have one.  I’m nervous to do that tomorrow.  

Total time today is 1 hour and 45 minutes

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 24

I’m actually starting this before work today!  I had to hustle a little more than usual because I have plans tonight as soon as I get off work, and I don’t want to spend an hour writing when I get home, because I also have plans tomorrow.  In fact several plans tomorrow, which means I’m going to have to skip something which I hate doing. I try to go to as many things as possible that the people I care about are doing, but sometimes I just can’t.  Events, birthdays, parties, dinners all that stuff tends to overlap, especially this time of year. I guess it’s a good problem to have.

The topic today is about incremental success, with the title being “you can’t pass go” which makes no sense, because in Monopoly you pass go lots of times, in fact “passing go” would be a good metaphor for incremental success, not against it.   

Other than the title I agree with what she is saying. My goal can’t be something like “Be a great and famous writer”  or “Write the next “Harry Potter” or even “be a moderately successful B list writer, making $30,000 a year”. I guess it shouldn’t even be something like “get published in Asimov’s or on Pseudopod”.  Because maybe I will never get published in my favorite magazines or podcasts, but that doesn’t mean I will not be published someplace. I have been published, I have been paid, I have had success. I am, in fact, a successful writer.  

This is super hard for me to grasp.  I have a horrible time trying to think of myself as an actual writer at all, let alone one that has been successful.  It’s difficult to see the anthologies I’ve been published in as meaningful successes because they were years ago. Written by a person I’m not anymore.  Maybe that Past Kitty was on track to be a writer, but Present Kitty missed that boat? I sometimes think of the last 3 years or so as lost time, that knocked me off track for being successful.  I literally have the thoughts that if I had kept at it a few years ago I would now be a “writer” and that since I didn’t, since I let toxic people take up all my attention for a while, and then had a sort of break down emotionally, and then got super depressed after breaking my leg and then started spending all my time working, that now I’ve “missed my chance”.  How does that even makes sense?

I don’t reasonable think there was one magical special point when I could have been a success and that I’ve somehow missed it.  That’s stupid. Yes, I’ve changed. I’ve had new experiences, new pains, and joys, but those things are story fuel! If anything present me has more potential than past me did.  

So what’s up with the lies we tell ourselves?  Why say “it’s too late” or “you missed your chance” or “you’ll never be good enough”?  Where do these thoughts come from? This project has brought a lot of those to the forefront of my brain.  I have found myself thinking “you shouldn’t be wasting your time with this, you should be working more, making more money.  You should clean or exercise, do something useful!” What makes me think this isn’t useful? I read. I think short stories and books are awesome!  I love them, and my world is a better place because of them. The writing of others adds value to my life on a daily basis. So, why should I think my writing is a waste of time? I’m not the best at writing, but I’m as good as many who get published.  And this is a skill where you progress with time and practice.

I did have a great moment yesterday.  I was reading “The Fifth Season” by N. K. Jemisin (Amazon) last night, the story is really interesting and I was finding it fast and comfortable to read. So I stopped and second and thought about why, and I realized her writing style is very similar to mine, conversational.  She uses a lot of commas, she sometimes appears to be talking to the reader, sometimes she changes perspective, even putting the reader into the story going so far as to tell you that you are one of the characters. Her writing is natural and easy to read. I haven’t checked the internet yet, but I guarantee there are people talking shit about her writing style not being technically correct or fancy or some shit.  

But you know what? I bet the people criticizing her haven’t won the Hugo or Nebula awards… just sayin’.  

I can’t recommend the book yet, since I’m only about 50 pages in, but I can recommend the style.  When I finish it I’ll try to do a book review. I need to do more of those. Also, read more books.  And invent a time machine. And be rich.

Today, I’m going to be editing some poems.  Once edited I’m going to try to find someone who wants to read them, makes some changes if necessary and then submit them.   Probably submitting tomorrow morning. Hopefully not on Sunday which is the actual deadline, but that does sound a lot like something I would do.  Reminder to self, you don’t have to wait until the day of a deadline to submit something, it’s the last day, not the only day.

I finished the first edit of one of the poems and sent it off to be read by a few people.  I really like this one, and I feel like it has a pretty good chance of being published. I’m going to go ahead and post this but I might do some more writing later.  

Total writing time so far today is 1 hour 26 minutes.  

Writer’s Boot Camp day 23

I’m starting on this during my lunch break again. I had hoped to put in a half hour before work, but I didn’t manage to get up early enough or be efficient enough for that.   I should be able to get a good solid 15 or 20 minutes during lunch, and I don’t have any plans tonight.

Today’s theme in the books is how we have a tendency to come up with a bunch of super important tasks as soon as we sit down to write, and why that might be.  The author says that “you really do want to write, but it’s also hard and difficult and scary and opens up all kinds of scars and anxieties that your rational mind doesn’t want to have to deal with”

Yes, that.  Exactly that.   I have a whole bunch of things that I have walls, moats, alligators and armed guards around.  And I can say with some level of certainty that I am one of the more self-aware people I know because at least I’m not lying about what’s behind those defenses.  I know on the other side of that wall is child abuse, bullying, fear of poverty, body hate, sexual assault, betrayal, violence, fear, extremely low opinions about myself, horrible theories about my tendency towards being abused and abandoned, and so on.   I have some really scary shit going on in there. I have gone to therapy, I journal, I read self-help books, and honestly, I have dealt with all of this on a conscious level about as much as I’m able/willing to do. Most of these things happened in the long past, and the ones that are more recent I don’t want to explore or confront the people involved.  I have decided for my own emotional safety to do something, anything to distract myself when these thoughts come up.

Writing brings them up.  Almost without fail my characters will experience the same horrible things I have.  I don’t think I could write a wealthy, attractive, popular character who was loved and nurtured by her parents.  If I did it would come across as fake or hallow, hmmm much like those sorts of people do…

As a writer you have to write the truth, as you know it into each story, each plot, each character.  Not every main character is exactly me, but they all have parts of me. There is a reason so many fictional characters are writers because they are written by writers. You write what you know.

 

When I’m writing more, I tend to feel more.  I tend to think about my fears more. When I write my emotions get turned up.  This last month I have been crying more, angry at myself more, afraid more, scared more. I know that comes out in my blog posts.  They have become almost a self-therapy journal in some places. I think this is why drug and alcohol addiction is so common in writers,  you need something to turn down the feelings. The average person spends a lot of time everyday distracting themselves from feeling, a writer has to sort of jump into it and wallow.  It’s not healthy. Or maybe it is, I don’t know.

However, not all of the anxiety and associated stalling is avoidance of emotions. I have definitely let some things slide, especially this week.  Some of the important things I think about needed to do before I write are actually things I probably should do. 

The book wants me to make a master to-do list and a to-do list for today, but I have already done that!  I do that every day, so yay! I’m ahead on something!

She wants us to put a little effort today into getting some of the other things done off of our list.  

A few things I need to work on are:

-Get back to working on the KonMari tidies, Dresses are next on my list

– Clean the kitchen

-Watch a video of Jim Butcher talking about writing process

-Finish laundry

-Go to the gym

 

I’m going to work something on this list for 30 minutes directly after work before I get back to writing.  I will be giving myself an upper limit on writing time tonight and a reward if I do it. I want to write a total of 2 hours, and once I do I will spend the rest of the evening doing fun things, any fun things I want, like TV, reading or coloring.  

******

Kitchen Before

I cleaned the kitchen and did some laundry for a little over 30 minutes. It’s not perfect, but as you can see it’s a damn sight better than it was.  I also made a decent dinner, listened to a podcast while I ate and washed the dinner dishes. Having a less disgusting kitchen makes me feel way better than I did before.  I hate feeling like I live in filth. I’m ok with a little bit of a mess, but dirty dishes, unwashed laundry, unscooped litter boxes, and things like that really stress me out.  

Kitchen After

Now in a slightly lower stress space, I’m going to write.  Working on poetry with the hope of being able to submit something tomorrow.

*****

I finished the first draft of a poem about two of my favorite things, Death and cats.  I think this one has real promise. I look forward to reading and editing it tomorrow.

Total writing time 2 hours 8 minutes

 

Writer’s Boot Camp day 22

I bet you were starting to worry, thinking “I don’t know if Kitty is going to do it today, it’s almost midnight!”  First of all, my hard time limit would probably be dawn, because the day changing over at night has always seemed awkward to me.  A new day happens when the sun comes up. When the street lamps gutter another night is over!

Regardless I will be done before midnight anyway.  

I start this during my lunch break from work.  Going back to work this week while also doing physical therapy has made this damn near impossible.  I was an hour late for work today, because of PT this morning, which means I should stay late tonight. But I’m not going to.  I don’t have any more appointments this week, so that is good I guess.  I hate having to cut back on PT in order to manage working, but I guess life is about choices and I can’t risk losing my job right now.

I have something I want to do tonight. A few friends of mine is moving out of town and I want to go say “bye” to them.  I will need to leave my house as soon as I get off work, do that and then come back and do some more writing before bed probably.  

Today’s topic in the book is “are we having fun yet?”

Sometimes I have fun writing, sometimes I don’t.  Often it has less to do with the writing itself than it does with worrying about the things I am not doing while I write, or with the self-esteem issues of feeling like no one is ever going to read it.  Sometimes things like writer’s block or stress over a deadline, or even worse a rejection can make writing not fun. But I disagree with something the author says on page 146 “I know some people say that it’s always grueling and it’s more about getting to the finish line and having written but I don’t tend to agree with that.  Who would say that about any other pursuit or job choice? You have to enjoy the process too”

I will admit I haven’t looked into the life of the author much, but that sounds like it is coming from a place of privilege.  I think pretty much everyone says that about pretty much all jobs. Do you think I “enjoy” my other jobs? Do I get a great sense of joy or purpose from doing phone tech support or leading teams of people to do phone tech support, or listening to calls of people talking to phone sales and grading them?  No, no I don’t. I enjoy job 2 (phone sex) sometimes, much like I enjoy writing sometimes. I’m happy when I have a good caller, and I get to do lots of storytelling and be creative. But with both jobs 1 and 2, I can’t just walk away when I stop enjoying the process. I can’t just hang up on a caller because I’m bored, I can’t just look at either of my other jobs and say “well, that’s not working for me emotionally, so I think I’ll do something else”  and run into a field full of flowers.

I would love to have the money to quit job 1, only do job 2 when I feel like it and focus on writing. But I don’t live in that world.  I have to pay bills.  Almost all jobs require you to do things you don’t want to do.

It would take years of hard work to get to a place where I could make enough money to live as a writer. Writing is difficult, it takes lots of time to get good at it.  There are skills  to learn, books I need to read and podcasts I have to listen to.  I have to do more networking, and more submitting. I have to pay money out of my own pocket for editing. I keep working on this because I like writing and I like the future me I see as a writer.  I like that dream. I’m not ready to give up on the dream and just do corporate business world jobs. Maybe someday I’ll give up on this, go back to my accounting career path. I could be making way, way more money as an account than I do with my current job, but I like the freedom of a low responsibility work from home job.  I like that I can still work on my dream in the time I would have been commuting, drinking after work with co-workers and dealing with clients.

There aren’t any specific exercises to do today, so I guess I’ll work on those poems more.

I started another poem during lunch and worked on it during my 15-minute break too. I think this one is going to probably be the best.  I wish I could post part of it here, but since it’s for a submission I can’t.

Once lunch break was over I did more day job stuff for several more hours. The moment work was over I changed clothes and jumped in the car so I could attend to a “going away” party.  

A super awesome person I know is moving from Atlanta to the west coast to go to school and I needed to tell her “bye” before she leaves tomorrow.  I was feeling a little guilty about going out and having fun when I should be writing or cleaning or working on important busy work things. However, I had a talk with myself about what the real meaning of life is. The ultimate goal is to be happy and seeing my friends makes me happy.  However coming home I did notice that my house smells a little off, so I think one of the other meanings of life is to clean my damn nasty kitchen tomorrow.

Total writing time today was 1 hour 27 minutes.  Tomorrow I will try to do more, like at least 2 hours to make up for the short writing days recently.

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 21

It’s 9:30 pm and I’m just getting started. If this trend of working later and later continues I am going to fail this challenge in a few days.    I worked my day job until 8, then did some dishes, litter boxes, vacuumed and trash. I’m not going to lie, I also hung out with Paul for a few minutes and played a stupid video game for about 15 minutes.  I feel a little guilty about the video game.

I really don’t think I’m ever going to be good at time management.  I have the same number of hours everyone else does, and yet I get so much less done.  I try to be disciplined but I always end up wondering where the time went. Oh well.

The theme today is delayed gratification, a reminder that writing is a long game. A single short story can take a few weeks from start to finish,  a novel takes months or years. Most things I write will be read by 4 or 5 people tops and not for a while after I write it. Someday if I keep working at it a few more might read my work.  A reply from a publisher about a submission can take 4 or 5 months, which is its own hell. Nothing happens fast in writing. This is hard for me, because I’m sort of a task endorphin junkie. I keep my little lists and check things off all day because it feels good to do the things.  I get one check mark for writing if I work 30 minutes or if I work 3 hours, so there isn’t a whole bunch of reward for more writing at least not right away. But at only 30 minutes a day, each project takes so much longer, slowing down the reward even more.

The author suggests making a list of rewards.  Small rewards for writing 3 hours without checking email or social media.  3 hours! That is a lot for me, I tend to manage about an hour at a time before I get distracted.  Possible rewards are a 15-minute walk, an iced coffee, watching a t.v show, coloring or a cookie. Those are not 3-hour rewards.  How about we split the difference and say 2 hours?

2-hour rewards

  • Going to a coffee shop or bar to get a drink with a friend.  Or dinner.
  • Watching an episode of a TV show I like
  • Going a craft store or something similar
  • Knitting for 30 minutes
  • Buying myself a small present online ($30 or less)
  • Go to a movie

If any of my local friends are reading this feel free to bribe me with a coffee, bar or dinner date. You don’t even have to pay, just text me and be like “hey, write for 2 hours straight and then we will hang out, and I’ll tell you that you are smart, talent and amazing”.  It will totally work.  I didn’t go to karoke tonight because I needed to write. 😦

There are also big rewards for meeting your daily goals for 2 weeks.  I’ve met my daily goal for over two weeks! I deserve a prize! Her 2-week rewards are not in reasonable scope with each other or with the smaller rewards.  I feel like the 2-week rewards should be 10 times as awesome as the smaller rewards. She has stuff like buy a new journal or go to a movie. Go to a movie makes sense on the first list, I’m going to add that up there now.  

2-week rewards

  • A day at the beach
  • A day out of town vacationing any place
  • A fancy dinner at a favorite restaurant
  • Shopping for a  new outfit really nice outfit
  • Ordering one of those monthly present boxes for myself (I had a yarn box and sticker box as gifts and that was neat, I’ve been wanting to do one of these, but I should probably wait until after I move)
  • A whole day off,  to binge watch tv and eat perogies

The author has the theory that we get caught in a cycle where we don’t have the energy to start writing. That we do something easier like play with our phones or watch TV and that wastes time and then we are too tired to work.   I would change “energy” to something else because I don’t think it is completely about if you are tired or not. I think it is something more, like “mana” or “will” or “chi” but not any of those either, because they all sound a little silly. Maybe “passion” or “drive”, or even “confidence”?  I don’t know, but it’s bigger than energy because you get that back by eating a healthy dinner, drinking enough water and getting a good night’s sleep. But the thing that I lack that keeps me doing pointless time wasting shit is more than that, its a mix of sadness, apathy, self-destruction, shame and a lot of other stuff.

This morning I wasted time doing stupid shit or doing the important things I should do but too slowly.  I did 15 minutes of exercise, ate breakfast, drank water, took morning meds, checked my planner, made a doctor’s appointment, put in a load of laundry, researched who I should vote for today and took a shower.   That should have taken maybe 1.5 hours. It took 3. Somehow in there, I wasted 1.5 hours. If I wasn’t currently doing this challenge and committed to finishing I would not be writing now. That missing 1.5 hours would have been enough to beat down my self-esteem into not doing any writing tonight.  In fact, it almost was, I feel so behind on everything that I really wanted to keep cleaning tonight and get a little caught up with that, but then I really would have been physically tired and probably gone to bed feeling like a big failure.

The author of the book thinks a few days of making ourselves write will break this cycle and we can keep going, the more you do it the easier it gets.  A week ago I would have agreed. Today, no. I don’t feel like this has gotten any easier to make myself do,  I’m not that proud of myself and I still feel a bit silly. I don’t think this has energized me…but who knows?

The exercise for today is to look back at some of my free writing from the last few weeks and see if anything jumps out.  I haven’t done a lot in my actual “free writing” doc, but I’ll give it a look.

There was a sentence there that might be a useful starting point for a science-based poem about suffocation.  And I had an idea to write down on the idea page.

I also had the idea to take a book, magazine or collection of short stories up to my room to read in the mornings instead of my phone.

I worked a poem about time travel for a few minutes.   It’s 11 PM now, I have to go to bed because I have PT in the morning.

Total writing time today 1 hour 19 minutes.