Monday, August 5, 2013

What Do You Do When Life Gets in the Way?

It's been hitting me that I won't reach my goal to finish the first draft of my manuscript by the end of August. I, technically, finished the first draft a few weeks ago, but that was very "this happens then this" type thing, just to get it done before I went to London. In all honesty, it didn't really, technically, count.

I won't finish because although I only have about 15-20,000 words left to write (I'm at about 53,000 as of this moment that I'm writing this post), this month is just hectic. Seriously. I just have to much going on, family-wise, to even bring my laptop around and write. It's all crazy.

And it sucks because I really, really, want to get this manuscript done by the end of summer because that was my "worse-come-worst" goal and now it's become reality, a reality hard to see. I hoped to get it done, originally, before my birthday in mid-July!

It's crazy, completely crazy, and it feels horrible. I've slacked off too much this summer - I could have written so much more. Now I'll still have to edit this draft, etc. etc. and I don't see myself querying until late October, at least (and that's me being super-optimistic as well).

There'll be another post about being lazy. This one's about life getting in the way of your goals. Because I could write so much but I'm going to be out of the state for almost half this entire month, and that's 15,000 words I could have written on my present track of 1,000 a day. That means I could have finished and even started editing.

Maybe I'll get it done still with the other days I have left over. Let's be more optimistic! Sorry. I'm kind of grouchy. I just really wanted this manuscript to be done. ARG.

What do you do when life gets in the way? Accept it, or fight back? Because right now, I'm angrily accepting it and I don't think that's the right way - though I get exhausted at 'fighting' and even thinking of writing 2,000 a day!


  1. Dude, you are preaching to the choir! I've felt like this for a while this Summer, and I haven't even been busy like that!

    Maybe for your travel, try dictating the story, then typing it up when you get home?

  2. Don't beat yourself up. Think of how much you have accomplished despite the distractions.

  3. First of all there is a reason why schools are out for summer, and most people take their vacation time during summer, heck some countries even shut down for August, because it is hard to get work done in the summer. Look at congress, when did they pick for their big recess? August. Really the only cure would be to switch hemispheres every six months.

    While I was on vacation down at the beach in Rhode Island this summer I had the tiniest goal: finish my synopsis, and day after day went buy and it was only an hour before I left to come back home that I got it done (and that was only because I extended my vacation by nearly a whole week haha) So cut yourself some slack you're not the only one.

    And I'm not sure what you are off doing so I can't offer specific suggestions as to how you could work some writing time in, but especially if it involves being around a lot of people it can be good to slip away sometimes to recharge, and even if you don't have your laptop with you (Deb's dictation idea is good) but even just taking a walk and thinking about your story and daydreaming scenes with your characters can be helpful you can hang out with them without the pressure of having to write it down and having to make it be something that fits into the manuscript and story arc, just getting to know them better. So when you do get back to your computer you may have some fresh insights into it.

  4. A) Writing is hard. No, not like "It's hard to sit down and write." That's the easy part. Writing is hard because you have to figure it out, put it on paper and be nothing less than spectacular when you do it.

    B) Rough drafts are meant to exist, not be good. Being good is what you get after more editing and revision than you can currently imagine.

    C) I belonged to a Get Schist Done group, and we had a rule, if you couldn't meet a goal three weeks in a row, you had to change the goal because it was only making you crazy. Break your novel into really small pieces and make a list. Then cross them off. I find that the act of crossing stuff off my list makes me want to cross more stuff of.

    D) when you're worked up about writing and not writing enough, it might be time to take a writing vacation. You weren't going to query by October anyway. I know you had plans, but querying and plans and first drafts and deadlines? That's a recipe for self induced crazy.

    What I do when writing is taking too long is to give myself a pass. I tell myself it's okay, writing takes forever. And really, do you want to rush this so you can rush into a bunch of query rejections? You don't want to read this a year from now and say "OMG, I blew it with all of those agents! If I'd just held off and taken my time..."

    Hope this helps, and yeah, writing is bash the head in hard. Give it the time it needs.

  5. Oh SC, this is something I get SO MUCH. I used to fight it. But that only made me depressed. So now I accept it. Because I've learned that those down moments (either with life getting in the way or inspiration lacking) is necessary and part of the process. I try to enjoy the moments when I'm not working like I'd like to be. Because I know that someday soon I *will* be working and will probably be pretty obsessive about it.

    I used to feel so much pressure, like writing is a race or something---but I've learned that it can't be. If I start to put that kind of pressure on myself, then I'm not creating something worthy. I try to twist my mentality that it isn't how much I'm getting done, but that I'm moving forward. It's the big picture that matters, and as long as I'm doing the best that I can in that moment, I have to find happiness there.

    Great post. Love posts like this. :-)

  6. You guys are awesome, fantastic, everything and more. Thank you so much for all your advice and in helping me get over this self-disappointment. I'm going to start working on readjusting my mental process. It's responses like these that I love having a blog in the first place :) You all are fantastic.

    1. (This is also the first time I've ever responded to my own post, not counting responses to one individual's comment, so know that all your comments really mean a ton to me.)

  7. Life definitely gets in the way - but the thing is, it's supposed to! If we don't have full and crazy and chaotic lives we won't have anything interesting to write about anyway. My philosophy is that real people come before the fictional ones every time. If that puts me behind, oh well :) Enjoy the chaos, find the joys and the rest all falls into place when it's suppsed to! :)

  8. We've all been where you are. Sometimes I'd like to find a cave where nobody can find me or at the very least, lock myself in my bedroom with a "do not disturb, or die" sign hanging on the door so I can write and write some more. Unfortunately, my kid gets hungry a lot and likes an audience for her many talents. School starts back soon, then, I'll regroup and write. Until then, I'll be grouchy with you. :D

  9. Hmm. Tough one. When I can't get peace and quiet to write because everyone is home, my last resort is my earbuds. I pop them in and that means stay away. But that only works when I have the time, but not the peace.

    I guess working with five year olds has taught me some patience. When I can't get time to write--I wait.