Recap: Week 36

One Million Words Challenge

Week 36

This week was an overall bad week, but it ended on a great note. Bad, because I barely wrote. And when I say that I did still make a gain, I got out of the hole a little. Just not much. Not enough to catch up on time. It is good to remind myself that a few months ago just breaking even was a big win. However, it’s also good to remind myself that, due to letting myself get so far behind, that isn’t going to cut it.

I have to write regardless of what’s going on. Having said that- I’ve been sick. I’ve felt horrible, completely drained and just wanting to sleep. Coughing hard enough that my roommates can hear me through the walls. Plus I went onto regular hours at Target so I’m getting used to having a job again and writing around that has been difficult. And it’s not helping how tired I feel. It was far too easy this week to curl up and watch Netflix while dozing instead of writing.

However, there was a bright spot at the end. Monday I, for the first time ever, had a 10,000+ word day! In fact, it ended up being 11,000+ when it was all said and done. Which when you look at the numbers below will let you see how weak the rest of the days were.

Still! I did it. It as more a mental block than anything. I’m capable of doing it, I kept saying I was going to, but never actually making it. And I hate to say this because it only reveals how easily I could have kept up but- it really wasn’t that hard. Time consuming, sure. I wrote a total of five and a half hours. I did nine, thirty minute blocks on Avon and then about an hour to hand write my MPs and journal (baby journal entry). Not including the very much needed breaks. But not hard. Not physically difficult, not torturous. It just took a commitment to sitting still and doing it.

That’s what it comes back to- doing it. Just sitting down and writing. Even when I’m sick. Even when I’m tired. Even when I have nothing to say. That’s been one thing that improv has done to help my writing more than any other thing. It has taught me to keep going in the face of having no idea where I’m headed. I can’t stop in a scene and try to figure it out. There is an audience watching. I have to go on as if I know exactly where things are headed, as if I have secret knowledge.

It’s the same with writing. If I want high word counts, if you want high word counts, the secret is to write. Ha! There it is. I’m a genius. Really though, just write even when there is no story coming out. It will show up. Humans are made to tell stories, to make connections, to seek and find patterns. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just written words that technically went together but I had no point for that ended up being vital to the story. By that I mean, don’t write random words like “dog hard noise love lion” (unless that’s your thing (And I think I can find a story in that, actually)). But just write words that would normally do together “She saw a tree. It was green. It was tall”. Does it sound like a preschool book? Yeah. But you have no idea what it will lead to, and there is always editing later if it doesn’t go anywhere.

Anne Lamott says it better than I can-

The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, “Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?,” you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you let him. Just get it all down on paper, because there may be some thing great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go–but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.”

Here are my totals for the week–

  • Journal 375
  • MPs 6,804
  • Blog 747
  • Avon 18,750
  • Total 26,676
  • YTD 552,149
  • Where I should be 690,480
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