[Billie Piper / Rose-But-Not-Rose Hello Gif, Because I Can]
It’s January! I’ve been waiting for the beginning of the new year since last early October. After finding Round of Words in 80 Days when I was searching for Nano alternatives, I spent much of October and November to planning to use it for The Secret Nerd Project. I like ROW80 because it allows me a lot of flexibility that Nano – inherently – does not. The top two being able to work on unfinished projects and set my own goals. Setting, maintaining and achieving goals is something I’ve struggled with most of my life, and while I know I can’t solve 20-ish years of struggle in three months, I’d like to come out of ROW80 a stronger writer and person.
Right now my goal is to write for an hour, three times a week. I’m trying to start low and work up to my biggest goal: twenty hours a week. I’d like to specifically state, for the purpose of this statement, that I want to write for one hour. Not edit, research or plot, but put new content on the page. Because I know I could easily spend that same hour obsessing over other aspects of writing, leaving me with a handful of new pages that I spent the other 78 days trying to “perfect” rather than finish.
I’m attempting to shoot for contentment, not perfection. I know I can’t just mindlessly shit out a first draft – as the cliche goes – it’s not how my brain functions. This is not to say that the first draft will be good, so long as I don’t wanna burn the sucker after April, I’ll consider myself a wild success. I’m calling that state “contentment”. Perfection can come after the edit(s).
I’ve completed the goal for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a grand total of 7.25 pages and 2,679 words. I’m not sure if I’ll write more this week, I may use it to finish some reading I’ve got pending, as well as other non-ROW80 blogs. I’m feeling good about the goals I’ve set, and even though the first night’s work took way more than an hour to get rolling, and on Wednesday I was worried the whole chapter was going to be a disaster, it ended up being a really enjoyable first week. Perhaps the beginning jitters have settled.
In semi-related news, I also built a simple spreadsheet to track my word and page counts. Because I get a strange and somewhat unexplainable thrill out of tracking things, whether it’s word counts, package deliveries or books I’ve read in a given year. Numbers in orderly rows secretly thrill me.
Well, it’s officially post day (Sunday), so I thought I’d add a little postscript. I did end up trying to write again on Thursday and … it was crap so I didn’t push hard, leaving it at 359. I haven’t picked The Secret Nerd Project up for the rest of the week, and I honestly didn’t miss writing at all on Friday. I think I needed the cool down period. By Saturday I could feel the itch starting – I’m starting to miss characters from a few short stories – and the urge continues to build today. I can’t decide if that means three days is perfect, leaving me chomping at the bit for the next week, or if I should try to schedule a bonus day.
Chances are this week I’ll plan a bonus day on the weekend and see how it goes. I feel a bit like Goldilocks at the moment, trying to find my “just right”, or at least my “comfortable for right now”. One thing I do really appreciate about the Monday – Wednesday schedule is the ability to do other things. I spent much of the down time away from my desk, reading half a book I’d been procrastinating and spending some real face time with my family.
I have been thinking, in the spirit of finishing more work this year – and those characters I’m missing – I might use the bonus day to work on a short story. Something that involves less emotional, mental and physical energy than TSNP. It would be really great to able to post a handful of completed stories to the site at the end of ROW80.