Writing Progress January 11–17, 2021

daily writing progress

January 11

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 201,028
  • Today’s word count: 31
  • Thoughts: Well, I wrote more than a sentence today. At this point, I see that as a victory. I’m still struggling to get into and stay in a writing mindset. There’s a lot to worry about these days and as much as I would welcome a distraction, I’m not doing a good job of keeping my mind off of it. Eventually it will get better. I’m just not patient.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Another day full of attempts to write. One of these days I will get everything working the way it should again. 2021 is just turning out to be a constant stream of stressful, terrible events. I just need a break so I can recover from the awfulness of 2020 and I’m not getting it.

January 12

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 201,122
  • Today’s word count: 94
  • Thoughts: I wrote a bit more today! What was different about today? I have no idea! I just sat down to write like every day and more words than usual happened. I’m not complaining, but I wish I knew how to replicate it or even improve upon what I managed to do today.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Let’s see if I can write more than today. I’ve written so much more than this in the past, but things are so strange and awful these day I don’t want to compare too much.

January 13

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 201,211
  • Today’s word count: 89
  • Thoughts: Things weren’t looking good for today. I almost went to bed after writing five words, but then I realized I had some more words in me. I wrote them and it was great. If I’d managed to focus on writing earlier in the day, I think I could have written even more but I was already drained by the time I got to it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Write more. Write earlier. It might not be possible. These days I get mentally and emotionally exhausted out of nowhere. One minute I’m fine and the next I need to sleep and reset.

January 14

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 201,217
  • Today’s word count: 6
  • Thoughts: Today wasn’t my day. I stared at my writing for ages and thought about what I could write for a long while. Then I wrote a few words, deleted them, and wrote the same words again slightly differently. It wasn’t a great day.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: It’ll be Friday, but I hope it will be a better day than today. Anything could happen these days.

January 15

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 201,227
  • Today’s word count: 10
  • Thoughts: Eh. Today was such a typical Friday. I want to be mad about it, but I’m just happy to have a typical Friday. I’ve been anxious lately so having a peaceful, ordinary day was refreshing.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I hope I’m able to write. I haven’t had much luck lately and I’m starting to feel impatient again. I don’t want to push myself when I’m already so stressed out about everything else, but I also don’t want to miss out on perfectly good writing time because I was too afraid to try.

January 16

No writing progress made.

I did chores. I had a panic attack. After that, I had no strength at all to put into creativity. I’ll try again tomorrow.

January 17

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 201,262
  • Today’s word count: 35
  • Thoughts: The effects of having a panic attack really hit me hard today. I felt absolutely drained. It took me forever to actually start writing once I decided I was ready. I probably wasn’t ready. Even after all these weeks of struggling to write, I haven’t broken the habit of sitting down and at least trying to write every day. Not having writing time feels wrong.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’d love to write more. I don’t know if it’ll happen, but I have to hope. Maybe if the world doesn’t get any worse I can make it work.

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Writing Progress January 4–10, 2021

daily writing progress

January 4

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,821
  • Today’s word count: 20
  • Thoughts: I’m still in a funk. I don’t know how to get out of it. I just keep sitting down and attempting to write with little or no results. I think I need a change of pace. Maybe I should try writing something by hand. The idea of changing things up right now is exhausting before I even try.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing attempts. I’m not giving up. I want to write and I’m going to figure out a way to get past this anxiety/stress/low self-esteem mental block and make it happen.

January 5

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,851
  • Today’s word count: 30
  • Thoughts: I’m still not feeling like myself when it comes to writing. However, I can feel myself getting closer. I picked up a game I hadn’t played in a while today and reentering that world gave me a huge creative boost. I have ideas. I feel inspired. All I need to do is get myself back on my feet and I should be writing up a storm in no time. At least, that’s what I hope will happen. As long as no more disasters pop up to derail me, I can do this.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Writing! I’ve been wanting to write for a while now but now that I’m feeling truly inspired again, I don’t know how I could be stopped. If anything tries to stop me, I need to run far, far away from it and protect this writing mojo.

January 6

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,890
  • Today’s word count: 39
  • Thoughts: My best plans couldn’t stand up against the mess of today. I tried to avoid doomscrolling and failed. Badly. I attempted to write, but my mind was so distracted and I couldn’t stick to anything for long.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Is it too much to hope for a peaceful day full of writing? It might be. 2021 is already off to a rough start.

January 7

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,913
  • Today’s word count: 23
  • Thoughts: Oh boy. I feel like I spent most of my writing time today staring at a sentence I just wrote and then deleting it to rewrite it. If I was working on a first draft, I know I would have left it alone and moved on, but this is a third draft and I can’t justify leaving something I’m genuinely unhappy with in the draft to be dealt with later.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Considering I put more time and energy into my writing than other days lately, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about my ability to get back to work, even if it will be another chaotic, errand full Friday. I’ll see what I can do.

January 8

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,974
  • Today’s word count: 61
  • Thoughts: I can’t believe I managed to write more than any other day lately on a Friday. I was busy. I was distracted. Somehow I still sat down and wrote more than two sentences. It’s not much, but I’m going to celebrate any sort of improvement.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I really, really hope I can write even more. After the past 6 weeks or so I know better than to hope for too much, but I want to keep pushing myself to do better and be better every single day.

January 9

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,991
  • Today’s word count: 17
  • Thoughts: I couldn’t get into a writing rhythm today. It really bothered me. I thought I was getting back to normal, but now I think it was too soon to celebrate. I guess I’m just a little disappointed.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Hopefully I can get back to writing. I’m trying to be optimistic. Eventually that optimism will pay off. It should be a very quiet Sunday so I have a good chance of making it work out for me.

January 10

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,997
  • Today’s word count: 6
  • Thoughts: This was an awful day for writing. I complained a bit about it on Twitter and someone pointed out to me that this week has been horrible and it is perfectly understandable why someone would have trouble righting at the moment. I feel like every week lately has had something happen that makes it harder to be creative. I’ve thought about disappearing from the internet for a month before and it is seeming more and more tempting, but I also think my anxiety would demand to be plugged in after a day or two because I know the world is a mess.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I just want to write. If I write two words, I’ll be happy. As long as I don’t stop, I can keep hoping that tomorrow will be the day that everything starts working again.

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Writing Progress December 28, 2020–January 3, 2021

daily writing progress

December 28

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,622
  • Today’s word count: 31
  • Thoughts: I wrote! That’s two days in a row! It might not be much, but I’m calling this a success. I’m getting back into the swing of things. Writing hasn’t been going well for me for so long that I know I need to be kind to myself and really celebrate the small victories. If I don’t I’ll only end up feeling discouraged.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’m looking forward to a quiet, peaceful Tuesday. It should be a good day for writing. I can’t wait to see how it will work out for me.

December 29

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,713
  • Today’s word count: 13
  • Thoughts: It did end up being a quiet, peaceful Tuesday, but I still couldn’t find the mental fortitude to get past this writing slump. I’ll get there eventually. I’m just really, really impatient. I want to write and it drives me up the wall to try to make it happen only to find some important part of me isn’t up to the task.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’m trying again. If you haven’t noticed, I can’t stop trying. Every day the need to write is there following me around and pushing me to keep trying. These slumps always have me questioning whether I’m a writer, but then I realize a non-writer would be able to step back and take an actual break without trying to write every day.

December 30

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,722
  • Today’s word count: 9
  • Thoughts: I keep writing less and less. That’s the opposite of what I wanted to do. I’m probably putting too much pressure on myself. That is a significant problem because I really don’t know how to stop piling these expectations on myself. If I’m going to write, I expect to actually write.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Well, I’m going to keep trying to write. I can tell I have to write. I’m just failing to find the way to get past these final mental blocks to make it happen. At this point I’m struggling to accurately identify the mental blocks themselves so I’m still one step away from getting through this.

December 31

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,751
  • Today’s word count: 29
  • Thoughts: I wrote a bit more than yesterday but I’m still not back on track. Being patient is hard. Tomorrow being a new year won’t magically change everything for the better, but I’m hoping I can turn the page and knowing this is a new year will give me the ability to make a fresh start with my writing.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: New year, new writing goals! We’re having a really low-key New Year so the plan is to run errands like a typical Friday. Hopefully everything will be really empty and it’ll be less stressful than usual!

January 1

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,765
  • Today’s word count: 14
  • Thoughts: New year, old struggles. Great. Just great. I’m so glad I haven’t managed to do the near-impossible and completely turn over a new leaf because the calendar switched over to a new year. I hoped it might push me to think differently and do better, but nothing really changed. Oh well. I’ll keep trying.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’ll be trying again. Eventually this word dam is going to burst and I will be ready with my hands on the keyboard when it happens. I fully expect the flood of words to be awful at first, but once I get started, they will get better. Showing up every day will make sure I’m prepared to sit down and get to work.

January 2

No writing progress.

It wasn’t intentional. I had a project that required me to set up my old computer again. It needed a lot of work to get back to working order. That was a major distraction.

January 3

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,801
  • Today’s word count: 36
  • Thoughts: I wrote again! I’m trying to celebrate every day I manage to write at this point because one of these days I’m going to write a lot of words in one day and it will be glorious. Until then I’m just going to keep trudging along and showing up to write.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’m going to show up and write something. I don’t know how much I’ll write, but I’ll be there and I’ll see what happens.

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Writing Progress December 21–27, 2020

daily writing progress

December 21

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,531
  • Today’s word count: 32
  • Thoughts: I ended up so much more distracted than I intended today. Some of it came from circumstances I could control and some of it was just the unpredictability of life. At this time of year, especially in 2020, I’m not going to bother getting upset with myself over a sad, little word count. I’ll just keep trying when I can.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing, I hope. I should have the ability to keep distractions minimized, but who knows what will happen. This time of year is full of surprises.

December 22

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,549
  • Today’s word count: 18
  • Thoughts: I’m still having a bad time with getting into writing every day. I feel like the holidays have now eclipsed the burnout caused by 2020 being one disaster after another. I can’t win at this point, but I can’t stop trying. I want to write even when my mind and body won’t cooperate.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: The holidays continue to draw closer. Will it help or continue to hurt my ability to write? I feel like the will to write is there, but it keeps getting buried by dozens of distractions ranging from brief diversions all the way up to day consuming projects.

December 23

No writing progress made. Holidays are messing with me so I’m not going to analyze how or why it happened.

December 24

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,569
  • Today’s word count: 20
  • Thoughts: I managed to write. It could have gone better, but it could have gone worse. I really can’t complain at this time of the year.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Maybe I’ll write. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know what to expect. I just hope I’ll have a good day.

December 25

No writing progress made. It was Christmas. I actually got to give my best friend her Christmas gifts on Christmas for the first time in maybe forever and I got to talk to her in person for the first time in at least a month. It was a good day.

December 26

I had another day with no writing progress. I played a game. I ate food. It was the second day of Christmas for me. Getting back into writing after this isn’t going to be easy, but I could tell I needed a break so I’ve been making an effort not to pressure myself to squeeze in a bit of writing when it wasn’t something I was willing or able to make a priority. Once things calm down again I’ll be able to form a new routine and things will be better than ever because I won’t be exhausted from pushing myself too hard for very little reward.

December 27

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,591
  • Today’s word count: 22
  • Thoughts: I wrote! I wouldn’t say I’m back in the swing of things yet, but I’m getting there. I’ve started writing again. It feels pretty good to write again. Maybe I’m finally going to get back on track this time around.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing, of course! Christmas is over. I had a few days to recover from the effort of getting Christmas ready. I still don’t know how the holiday managed to be so exhausting this year when we didn’t have any huge gatherings to prepare for or attend. I guess my stamina is also lower this year. No surprise there. At least I seem to be bouncing back from it.

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Writing Progress December 14–20, 2020

daily writing progress

December 14

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,079
  • Today’s word count: 55
  • Thoughts: Well, I wrote! It took forever to get started today. Then when I did manage to write I was practically falling asleep in my seat. I hate it when that happens. I was feeling plenty of creative energy and no other sort of energy whatsoever. I tried to push myself to stay up and write more but my body wasn’t having it. I need sleep.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Maybe I’ll find the creative energy to write before bedtime tomorrow. Who knows? I hope so. It’s a good goal, but I haven’t been achieving much writing at all lately.

December 15

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,329
  • Today’s word count: 250
  • Thoughts: I wrote! It felt great! I guess I just needed to give myself time to get back to a place where I could write. It’s just too bad that I can’t be patient with myself and take the time I need. I spent the past two weeks pushing myself over and over again just to see if I was ready. I wasn’t and I made myself miserable for no good reason. I knew I needed time. I just didn’t want to let myself have what I needed.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I need to keep writing, obviously. I had some success today and I can’t let the momentum go to waste. I have to keep it up and finish this draft. It’s taken way too long already.

December 16

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,336
  • Today’s word count: 7
  • Thoughts: I was so, so distracted today.  A huge snowstorm hit us. We had more snow in one day than all of last winter. There was sleet too. The roads were a mess and I spent the afternoon worrying whether my boyfriend would have to go into work. He didn’t. I’m glad. The main road in front of our apartment didn’t get plowed at all under after the snow stopped.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: With the storm over I’m hoping I’ll be able to focus on writing again. There shouldn’t be anything nearly as distracting as constant, heavy snowfall to keep me away from my work.

December 17

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,341
  • Today’s word count: 5
  • Thoughts: Well, I was very distracted again today. I don’t know what did it. I had plenty of time to write. I just felt too restless to sit down and get to work. Usually I have no problem staying inside and keeping myself occupied. Being stuck inside by snow and ice made me restless. Since I couldn’t wander, my mind wandered for me.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I know better than to hope for a productive Friday, but here I am. I was just starting to get back into the swing of things before I lost my mojo again. I want to get it back. It won’t be easy when I’m fighting against so many distractions, but maybe they’ll be the right kind of distractions this time.

December 18

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,369
  • Today’s word count: 28
  • Thoughts: This was such a typical Friday. I hope having a typical Friday is a sign that I’m getting back on track. It could mean anything. I’m just going to call it a good sign and leave it at that. We’ll see if I’m wrong soon enough.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Will I get back on track? Will I have another day of struggle and distraction? I won’t know until I try to write tomorrow. Unless something comes up, I should be having a cozy Saturday at home with my boyfriend so there should be plenty of time to make the writing magic happen.

December 19

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,396
  • Today’s word count: 27
  • Thoughts: I went into the day with the best of intentions. There’s just no way to plan for a migraine. When it happens I’m always too stubborn to admit defeat and try to go about my day normally which only makes me suffer more. I tried to write. I was miserable the entire time and it showed from the way I tried to drag the words out of my head for about 40 minutes with 27 words to show for it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’ve gotta get past this migraine. I need to write. This is the feeling I’ve been waiting for since back in November. I want to grab onto it and start using it before it disappears but I can’t do properly until the migraine is gone.

December 20

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,499
  • Today’s word count: 103
  • Thoughts: I wrote more today. It wasn’t a huge flood of words like I hoped I could manage, but I ended up feeling a bit better later in the day and sat down to get to work. Without a ton of momentum from yesterday and only a couple hours before I needed to sleep, I knew I couldn’t hope for much.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing, of course. I won’t have quite as many hurdles to jump over to get to a place I can write since I got back into the story today and I’m pretty sure I finally kicked this migraine.

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Writing Progress December 7–13, 2020

daily writing progress

December 7

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 199,913
  • Today’s word count: 24
  • Thoughts: I wrote exactly one more word than yesterday. It’s progress. It just isn’t much progress. I’m still struggling to get back into the right mindset for writing. If I didn’t feel like writing, I wouldn’t be trying yet, but I’m itching to get back to telling this story. The problem is focusing once I sit down to write. My mind just wanders. I’m probably not as ready to get back to writing as I want to be. I just need to be patient with myself.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Will tomorrow be the day I’m able to keep my attention on writing? I won’t know until I try and I intend to keep trying. It will happen and I’m not going to miss it when it does.

December 8

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 199,945
  • Today’s word count: 32
  • Thoughts: Today’s word count is slightly better than yesterday’s but this snail’s pace climb back into writing is driving me up the wall. I want to write. I’m just fighting through a lot of distracting thoughts that have my mind wandering constantly. Eventually I will get past this. I just hate waiting.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Let’s get back on track! Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won’t. I don’t know if I will make it work, but I’m going to try. I’m going to be there with my hands on the keyboard when everything clicks back into place.

December 9

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 199,950
  • Today’s word count: 5
  • Thoughts: I really thought I wasn’t going to write at all today. My brain just wouldn’t switch on. I could go through ordinary day to day things just fine, but sitting down and trying to create something from my own mind just wouldn’t happen. It was frustrating but I’m still trying to be kind to myself. I’ll write again eventually.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I really hope I can have a quiet day at home that will finally let me write again. I miss it. I miss being able to sit quietly with my thoughts and not have my own mind betray me by going blank or meandering down some mental corridor to a place a didn’t want to go. I know I’m tired and I have a lot of grief left to process but I can’t help feeling impatient.

December 10

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 199,982
  • Today’s word count: 32
  • Thoughts: I feel like I’m still in the same place mentally. The desire to write is there. I (usually) have time to set aside and focus on writing. When the time comes, my mind just gets caught somewhere between freezing and wandering off. Can it be both at once? I’m sure the solution is to give myself time to get back to normal, but I want to be able to do something to get there. I’m not good at just waiting.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I really, really don’t know what to expect. It’s my birthday. Obviously I’m not having people over for a party or going out. I still have errands to run like every Friday. Will I finally be able to write? I don’t know.

December 11 & 12

Oh boy. I ended up taking a break for my birthday. Then I took an extra day. I was still feeling pretty empty. As much as I want to write, I am still creatively running on fumes. Getting that creative energy back is a long, slow battle. So much of the space is currently occupied by a flurry of other emotions. Even under the best of circumstances, it would take a while to win back that space in my mind, but this is 2020 so more stress just gets piled on me and I feel like I’m shoveling it back out as fast as I can and just falling further behind.

I genuinely need a vacation from reality.

December 13

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 200,024
  • Today’s word count: 42
  • Thoughts: Well, I remember when I was confident I would be able to cut this draft down to 200k without any problem. I’m still so far from the end of this rewrite. It’s going to be longer than the last draft. It’s might end up a lot longer, actually. Do I think that’s a bad thing? Not at all. I’m expanding certain parts of the story I realized I had neglected before. There might be other things that can be trimmed down later, but this is a big story. Maybe reaching this milestone will help me get my creative energy and motivation back?
  • Tomorrow’s goal: It’s looks like we’re getting rain/snow around here. It’ll be the perfect excuse to stay inside and write. Hopefully it will be the push I need to get back into writing seriously.

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Writing Progress November 30–December 6, 2020

daily writing progress

November 30

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 18,691
  • Today’s word count: 72
  • Thoughts: Usually I put in a mad rush to the finish line on November 30. This year I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t that I knew I couldn’t win. During a normal year I’d still try to get as close as possible on the last day. Today I just felt sad and empty. Considering how the last week or so has gone for me, I decided this was more than valid and I should just do what I needed to do to feel better.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’m on the fence between jumping back into draft 3 of The Dreams and taking the first day of December off to play games guilt free. I’ll probably end up doing something in the middle like playing games while feeling guilty for not writing. Yeah. That sounds about right.

December 1

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 199,866
  • Today’s word count: 14
  • Thoughts: I didn’t plan to write today. I didn’t even have Scrivener open for most of the day. It was freeing. I played a game. I kept my mind distracted and almost felt normal for a little while. Then we got to the evening which is my most productive writing time and I just sort of opened Scrivener. I wrote a sentence. It’s not much, but it’s more than I planned to do and it was spontaneous. Maybe I’ll get back to writing sooner than I originally thought.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’m going to go with the flow. If I want to write, I’ll write. If I end up playing games all day, or deep cleaning the house, or going out on a walk it’ll all be fine.

December 2–4

No writing progress for a few days. For once, I’m totally fine with this. I know I need a break. I’m actually taking a break. Being sensible for once is pretty nice.

Honestly, I should have done this back in November. I’m stubborn. I couldn’t let go of the idea of doing NaNoWriMo even though I needed the time off. Trying to write didn’t hurt me. At least, I don’t think it did, but it was frustrating. I think I would have been a bit calmer if I knew how to step away from an event and take the break I needed.

The break has done what it needed to do. I feel better. I’m not going to go as far as to say I feel good, but I’m better than before.

December 5

I meant to write today and I just couldn’t do it. The intention was there. I just didn’t have the energy to carry out my intention.

The burnout from everything that happened in November is still there. I’m getting better, but now that I’m ready to think about writing again, I’m running into the barrier that grows when I don’t write for a few days. It takes more than a little bit of motivation to get back into writing again. I’ll get there eventually, but I guess I’m just not ready to take on the writing break hurdle.

December 6

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 199,889
  • Today’s word count: 23
  • Thoughts: Today I just had to try. It wasn’t easy. Getting past the mental block from taking multiple days off from writing drained a lot of the mental energy I intended to put into writing. Hopefully making the effort today will make getting started again tomorrow a bit easier. I want to start creating again.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: It looks like I should have a quiet Monday at home. As long as nothing major comes up, I should have plenty of time to focus on myself and my writing. It’s time. I’m ready. Let’s go.

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NaNoWriMo 2020 Wrap Up

NaNo-2020-Writer-Banner-Twitter

I tried, but writing 50,000 words in November just wasn’t meant to be this year. This whole year has been strange and upsetting. It made for a unique set of challenges for everyone when it came to tackling 50,000 words in a month.

At the start of the month I felt pretty confident. I reached my goal during Camp NaNoWriMo back in July for the first time ever. I’d won NaNoWriMo multiple times in the past. It shouldn’t be that different this year. Even with the pandemic. Even with the election…

I was so wrong.

The first cracks in my writing foundation showed up before November even started. Towards the end of October my best friend’s brother attempted to take his life and ended up in a vegetative state. I’ve known him for 24 years, almost as long as I’ve been best friends with his sister. I was shaken by the news, but I ended up feeling angry, upset and hurt on my best friend’s behalf for the first few weeks without really processing it for myself.

Obviously, I was kidding myself by thinking I was okay at the start of November.

I wrote. Everything seemed to be going about as well as usual. I always fall behind in the first two weeks of the month. I’m a procrastinator so needing to catch up in the final days is just the way I work. I thought I was doing great with my writing all things considered.

Then on November 22nd my grandpa died. He was 92, but I wasn’t ready. I fell apart. If I’m honest, I’m still in pieces. Since then I’ve been lucky if I have an hour or two a day when I feel okay enough to get off autopilot. Instead of increasing my writing output, I struggled to function well enough to write at all.

My best friend’s brother passed away on the 27th. I stopped functioning altogether again.

I always debate how much of my personal life to share online and through this blog in particular. When it comes to writing struggles it can be really hard to be real and honest about why writing is difficult without exposing the lowest points in my personal life on the internet.

Most of the time I hesitate to share because I feel like someone will interpret it as looking for excuses to avoid writing. I worry someone will tell me what I’ve experienced isn’t that bad or they’ve written through worse. I trust my friends and even my internet acquaintances to be more compassionate than that, but this blog is public and the internet has plenty of strangers ready to kick someone when they’re down.

I shouldn’t worry about that. Ever. We shouldn’t constantly put off writing until circumstances are ideal because ideal circumstances don’t exist. Most writing happens under “good enough” circumstances, but things have been nowhere near “good enough” for me lately.

Writing can be cathartic, but it’s also okay not to be okay enough to write it out. I’m not okay enough right now. I keep trying because that’s just the type of person I am. If I want something and it doesn’t come easily, I throw a couple tons of stubbornness at it until I either figure out how to make it work or things get better on their own.

If you’re not okay enough to write, you don’t have to be like me. Not everyone finds it easier to sleep at night after running into a metaphorical brick wall a few times. However, if you think you might be in a mental place where writing could help, please give it a try. It doesn’t have to be good or even make sense, as long as you feel better once you wrote it.

A lot of times when I fail one of these writing events I like to reflect and share what I learned from the experience. This time I don’t think I learned much at all about myself as a writer. My failure during NaNo didn’t result from poor time management, lack of plot, or undeveloped characters. Sometimes life just sucks and we need to set our work, our hobbies, our passions aside for a while.

I’m not okay but eventually I will be okay again.

Writing Progress November 23–29, 2020

daily writing progress

November 23

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 15,757
  • Today’s word count: 421
  • Thoughts: I’m struggling to write. I’m not forcing myself to do it. That wouldn’t work right now anyway. I want to write but actually getting the words out right now is hard. At the moment writing is mostly staring at a wall and thinking about my story. Translating that into writing just didn’t work out.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Keep expectations low. I want to aim for the stars, but I know I’m going through a lot right now. Eventually I will feel better. Until then, I need to be gentle with myself.

November 24

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 16,912
  • Today’s word count: 1,155
  • Thoughts: My intention was to dedicate the entire day to writing. I tripped myself up at the starting gate. I slept in. I took my time eating breakfast. I decided to cut my hair instead of getting on with my writing. Eventually I did write, and I had a really productive day. I wonder how much more I could have written if I’d started off the day the way I ended it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Can I continue this writing streak? Can I build off of today’s productivity? I hope so! I’m going to try.

November 25

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 17,464
  • Today’s word count: 568
  • Thoughts: Oh boy. Today wasn’t a good day. I was distracted. I struggled a lot. My word count isn’t abysmal, but I had such high hopes for today. It just wasn’t meant to be. I’m trying to accept that this just isn’t my year.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: What should I expect? It’ll be Thanksgiving. On a normal year I would expect that to completely derail all attempts at productivity for the day, but this year is strange. I might have a reasonable opportunity to get some writing done on Thanksgiving for maybe the first time since the NaNo I was studying abroad.

November 26

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 17,591
  • Today’s word count: 127
  • Thoughts: My hopes were through the roof for today. The day didn’t live up to the expectations. Oddly enough, it ended up being a pretty typical Thanksgiving for me writing-wise. All other parts of it were atypical but at least something on Thanksgiving stayed the same, right?
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing, hopefully. I don’t know what else to do. This is NaNoWriMo. I have to keep writing. That’s the whole point.

November 27

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 17,650
  • Today’s word count: 59
  • Thoughts: Today was not meant to be a day for writing. I can’t really afford to have those days at this point in NaNoWriMo but it happened anyway. I’m so tired and I don’t think I have the mental or physical stamina to make it to the finish line this year. It’s been a hell of a month.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I know what tomorrow has in store for me and I’m not optimistic for my ability to get my words in. This month has thrown a lot at me. I’m trying to keep my expectations in check. It’s okay if I don’t win NaNo this year. At least I’m still writing.

November 28

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 17,675
  • Today’s word count: 25
  • Thoughts: Today was another really tough day. I just sat and existed a lot of the time I could have been writing today. A lot of times when this happens I think I could have managed my time differently to make the writing easier. Nothing would have made writing even possible today. It sucks because November is usually all about writing, but I can’t do it these days.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’d love to get back to writing. I’m not going to pretend I have a chance of winning NaNoWriMo at this point. In another year I might be able to summon a massive push and get close enough to make the finish line possible on the 30th but not this year. I would just like to write something again as an emotional release.

November 29

  • Project: The Mage’s Unwritten Guide to Dragons
  • Total word count: 18,619
  • Today’s word count: 944
  • Thoughts: I wrote today and it felt great. Then I ran out of steam and I stopped. Normally during NaNoWriMo I would keep pushing myself to write more, but this month has been so hard already. I’m just happen to write more than a few words. Things have been too hard lately to push myself.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: I’d love to write an avalanche of words for the final day of NaNoWriMo, but I’m not going to hurt myself to make it happen. I still have periods of time every day where I just need to do nothing at all. I’m not going to ignore that if I need it.

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