Toil and Trouble

In so many ways, February was a bust. I generally look forward to February, but I don’t usually expect to get all that much done. There’s always something distracting about the month… when I was in school it was winter vacation (and wanting to spend as much time in leisure activities as possible), in college it was the end of Field Work Term and the beginning of Spring term.

I didn’t reach my goals for the daily average. I only wrote during a minority of the total days in February, and the end result barely works out to over a page a day. It’s pathetic, if I think about how much I could have gotten done. I had a lot of days of uselessness. I am planning to let it go and focus on writing more from this point so that I can finish at least most of the book by my deadline of tax day. I will publish this book this year. I have decided. But, as usual, I’m behind, so I’ll need to find a way to guarantee productivity…

And then there’s Morning Pages. Remember how I mentioned that I often forgot about them? Well, I forgot about them for approximately two whole weeks – maybe longer. I was keeping my Morning Pages journal downstairs to use while I waited for my coffee to brew. It ended up under the living room table with a pile of my things and I completely forgot it was there. I guess it will take slightly longer than I thought to build up that habit. I will prevail tomorrow!

 

Now for the life front. In case you wondered, I am still looking for a job. My work at the moment is minimal. I barely get calls and I can’t take all the shifts I’m offered, so I am making a sad excuse for an income at the moment. There seems to be a high likelihood that because I’ve been in this situation for so long, possible employers won’t see any evidence that I can do well working full time in an office… but I think that part of the reason I’ve been so unproductive is that the work I have now never challenges me enough to wake up my brain. I need challenges other than constant stress about finances. Don’t we all?

Someone is always out there to tell you some version of “you create your circumstances.” I am sure there is some truth or other to that, but there are a lot of things I can’t control. I can’t help that what I want isn’t practical at the moment, and the employers that should be recognizing someone worth hiring keep overlooking me… it never used to take me so long to come across the right path. Now it seems like I’m very lost. What’s up with that?

Mid-month update

Since I don’t have any new writing to post, it’s time for Another Update. Here we go.

As I probably already knew, I haven’t kept up with my February Challenge. At this point it’s very unlikely my final Daily Average will reach 5 pages. I’ll be lucky if it ends up being 3 per day, and I seriously doubt I’ll have 100 pages by the end of the month. However, if I’m better about sitting down and writing for the rest of the month, and have at least finished the exposition part of the plot by the 28th, I’ll be happy with the final result. I have great faith that I’ll meet my “deadline” of tax day. My first draft is likely to need a lot of work, but I still plan to publish the ebook of Sleeping Beauty this year. Assuming I can find an editor who’s willing to wait a while to be paid…

 

And how are my morning pages coming, you ask? About 50%. I think it’s going to take a while to get into the habit. I’m still forgetting a lot of the time, and I don’t wake up 15 minutes earlier when I have to leave early in the morning for work. I’m doing slightly better now than I had been, remembering more often. As to the usefulness of it, that has yet to be determined. Maybe that takes a while to kick in, too.

Progress Update

Or, as I think describes it more accurately, lack-of-progress update.

My first week of Morning Pages did not really go that well. The very first morning after I had decided to do it, I forgot about it until sometime in the afternoon. The next day I did them, but the day after I had to go to work early and didn’t want to wake up 15 minutes earlier to have a chance to do Morning Pages. I’ve done them more than 50% of the time, but I’m still not doing them every day. It will take more getting used to, and perhaps a more regular work schedule, to do that. If I remember later in the day, it’s too late to do them. There is a reason you’re supposed to do this when you first wake up, before you do other things.

So far, when I have done the Morning Pages, they haven’t made me more productive that day. It probably takes a while to kick in.

In addition, I have not kept up with my February Challenge so far. I’m on page 5, while I should be on page 20 or so by now. I didn’t expect to stick to it the entire month, but I did think I’d be excited enough about the project to get a good start on the goals I had set. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t…

I was thinking about imagery, and how I sometimes get feedback about needing more detail. I have to ask: if you know that a character is walking a path through the woods, is it so hard to envision someone walking through the woods without being told exactly what every inch of his environment looks like? Maybe this is a product of my upbringing, but if I’m reading about people in the woods, I don’t have any trouble picturing them. Perhaps my picture is not exactly the same as the author’s but the basics are there. Any important details should certainly be specifically related, but why should I spend time describing generic forest when the character’s thoughts as he walks seem more important to me? Besides, don’t you ever get tired of having everything described in great detail? I think it creates a dense and difficult tome, at times cumbersome to read.

Being a Better One-Who-Writes

I created a FictionPress account so that I could post some of my writing that I didn’t want to wait for a publisher/publication to accept. It’s effective because I get to post my own work, and there are hundreds of thousands of users on the site. The problem with the FictionPress community is that so many of the users are high school students (or younger) whose writing style has not developed to the point where I can bear to read it. That means, most likely, I’m not reaching my target audience by publishing there, unless I do post my fairy tales. I need to find the sub-set of people who are talented, serious writers, but I have no idea how to do that.

 

I came across a post about Morning Pages, which is a practice for writers. Although it seems annoying to do it every morning, it sounds as if it could be extremely helpful. Morning Pages, for those who don’t know, are three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing, supposedly completed in fifteen minutes, that you do every morning as soon as you wake up.

I do think it sounds like a good idea, so I plan to start doing it. My personal adaptation of Morning Pages says that if my stream of consciousness doesn’t want to fill three pages, then I’ll do as much as I can according to that morning’s thoughts, 1 and 1/2 pages minimum, depending on how large my handwriting is that day (it varies).

I’ll let you know how it goes…