Personal Writing Challenge Progress!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Here's the basic rundown of how my personal writing challenge has been going so far:

Day One:

I am enthusiastic and ready to go. I eat dark chocolate to keep myself alert and lemon water to keep hydrated. To overcome my tendency to over-edit while typing, I try to keep usage of the backspace button to a minimum. Instead, I move my cursor to where I made the mistake and continue typing without erasing what I did before. I've found that this is a better medium between being in the moment and editing.  After all the typing my hands felt a little crampy. Made plans to use Swype instead next time.

Time: 2 hours 30 min
Words: 2,000

Day Two:

When I come out of my room my husband says to me, "You're really playing up the disheveled writer look."

"I'm not trying to," I say, afraid of how naturally the stereotype came to me. I wore a relaxed, button up blouse, a just above knee length, casual skirt, and my hair was loose and frizzy. And the fact that I wear glasses didn't help. Guess I just need to own up to the fact that I am a disheveled writer right now.

I used Swype, and just as I thought, it's slower. However, I have less of an urge to correct myself. I decided to go back to typing on Day 3.

Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Words: 2,069

Day Three:
Since I didn't like the idea of having hand cramps from typing, I introduced the Pomodoro method to my writing time. I've used it for other things and didn't really care for it, but for writing, it is killer. I ate more chocolate and used my Pomodoro breaks to exercise. Not bad. I take the leap and turn off spellcheck.

Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Words: 2,000

Day Four:

I listen to A9 on repeat as I write. I think about buying more Japanese and Korean music because I love the songs, and I'm not distracted by the lyrics. I'm typing and now have added coffee to the mix. I blame my fast typing on the cat-eared hat that I wear while I'm writing.

Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Words: 2,500

Day Five:

After day four I was feeling totally tired, so I decided to dial back the amount of time that I was writing. Still typing on my computer and using Pomodoro breaks to workout. I swore that next time I'm going to make my own iced coffee because I can make better ice coffee than what comes in those cartons from the store. I am amazed by how plot twists are coming to me naturally. I do have an outline, but sometimes things happen in a story that are unplanned by the writer that adds some spice and surprise. That's happening to me more often now, and I'm thrilled.

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Words: 2,080

Notes:  While doing this my husband often asks me if it's tiring. It is sort of, although it takes not much more time than watching a movie. I think the hardest thing is that when I know it's the start of a new session my mind is like, "There is no way you can write that much!" But when I sit down and start typing, I do it. Every single time. So the hardest part is struggling against that mental wall when I sit in the chair. But once I get going, I cannot believe how naturally the words are coming to me.

Writing By Hand & Other Things

Friday, May 5, 2017
This week I've been super busy trying to prepare for two weeks of writing. I've loaded up on snacks and created music playlists that I'll enjoy writing to. I've also done a ton of house cleaning and took care of a few of those things around the house that have been staring me in the face for months.

I just didn't want to be distracted by those things while I'm trying to write. Also for other things that pop in my head, I've been telling myself, "I can do that in two weeks."

For most of my life, I've been a "write the first draft by hand in a notebook" kind of person. It has been the best way for my ideas to flow naturally without me over editing.

However lately I've realized that writing so much by hand isn't good for my hands due to the repetitive motion. The same can be said for typing, but I can get a lot more words out of typing before I suffer from hand cramps than with handwriting.

So lately, I have been experimenting with alternative methods of writing--alternatives to handwriting and traditional typing. This may sound insane, but so far, using the Swype keyboard on my phone is my favorite. For me, it's in the middle of handwriting and typing. I maintain just about the same amount of free flowing thoughts as when I'm writing by hand, and I avoid the need to edit everything like I do when I'm typing on a keyboard.

My wish is that there was a Swype keyboard that I could plug into my computer. It needs to be cellphone-sized because swipe was created for cellphones. Swype is awkward on any surface bigger than that (swiping on a tablet is an example of awkward). Then I can type with one hand. Swype seems slower than normal typing which I need because when I type I have wtoo much time available for over criticizing myself and changing sentences over and over.

I've also tried voice typing a little, and it is strange. I don't think I'm ready for it yet.

Another thing I've been looking into are ways to stop myself from editing too much while I type. I tried one writing program that disables the backspace key. It's a bit extreme, but at least I can forget about editing while I work. Another suggestion that I've read is to not erase the stuff I type that I don't like, but instead italicize it. Then when I go back to edit, those parts will stick out, and I can remove them.

So I will put these methods into practice as I start my writing challenge tomorrow.

Setting Up a Personal Writing Challenge

Monday, May 1, 2017
Lately, I’ve been reading No Plot, No Problem! by Chris Baty. Although I’m not planning to do Nanowrimo anytime soon, this book did inspire me to set up a personal writing challenge for myself. For awhile I’ve been writing a little bit every day, and I’ve been finding it frustrating because the progress is so incremental. I like the feeling of, “Woah, look how far I got!”  I don’t get that feeling often when I average around 250 words a day.

After reading a book full of tips for Nanowrimo writers, it made me curious about if I would enjoy writing more if I did a planned burst of writing once in awhile.

So I marked on my calendar May 6th to May 19th. I’m giving myself 14 days to write a little over 12,000 words which will effectively finish the rough draft of the second book of The Altered Realities of a Dream-maker. I was wondering if I would make it to three novellas or not, but seeing how my chapters are getting longer and longer, three books is going to happen.

Although this is a modest challenge (I can do it by writing 1000 words a day),  I’m taking it on with the mindset that I want to focus on writing for the next two weeks. I’m excited about this because when I’m writing every day, I’m afraid to postpone things to make room for writing because I have no clue when I’ll get back to the things I put off. So it’s not unusual for me to lose writing time to other activities, such as catching up on a favorite TV show or cleaning the house.

However, with the concept of writing in bursts, it’s okay if I postpone mopping the floor for two weeks to work on my story because I can do it when that time period is up. Yes, there maybe a new show on Netflix I want to watch, but I can go two weeks without it. Along with the promise of seeing a lot of progress in short time, I think it’ll be worth pushing myself.