Does one bonus day this month make for bonus writing?
The short answer is no, it does not. Today on the Wednesday Pen, we’re not here with a triumphant 40k, or even 20k. We’re behind schedule on goals, and it’s not where we were supposed to be.
And damn it, that’s okay!
So let’s have a look at where we did end up.
When I introduced you all to The Wednesday Pen last month, I said I aimed to write 20-40k on a personal project. As it is, I didn’t touch that project at all. Instead, I wrote 13,161 words on something else, and aim to write another 12k before the month is out.
“Meaghan, the 29th is only three days away!” Yes, I know, but this little project has its teeth sunk in deep, and finishing it on Leap Day would be enormously satisfying for a number of reasons. I don’t know for sure that I’ll finish it, given how far off track I went this month, but I might as well try while I have the writing bug.
Since I obviously haven’t learned my lesson about taking on massive projects in tiny time frames (see the 12k in three days goal above, whoops), I figured I’d mention the lesson that I have learned in the last month: how to bite off little chunks of a project instead of the whole thing at once.
Turns out that breaking a project down into smaller pieces really helps in making it fly by. 12k in three days? That’s 4k a day. That’s 1k an hour, if I just put my butt in a chair and make time to write. And that’s 250 words in fifteen minutes, which starts to seem like absolute peanuts, because I’ve done 500+ in fifteen for word sprints in the past.
Taking large goals and slicing them up into itty-bitty fragments has been an outstanding way to beat the gremlin in my brain that gives up when something seems like too big of a task. It’s the equivalent of putting super simple tasks on your to-do list, like “make bed” or “fluff pillow,” just so that you get the satisfaction of checking off one more thing on your to-do list!
I’ve found that specifically aiming for 250 words at a time is the sweet spot for my brain. If I can write that in under fifteen minutes, I’m super pleased to be ahead of schedule. And if it takes me a little longer, it’s not unreasonable for me to tell myself, “oh, you can make it up on the next 250 words.”
One of these days, I’ll retrain my brain a little better. Maybe we’ll stop being a workaholic machine aiming for total efficiency. But for now, we’re working with what we’ve got.
Since February’s specific project got waylaid, I’m reassigning it to March. I think it’ll be a little easier to follow through on since the current project is adjacent to the goal project, too. (Apologies for the lack of fun WIP names in this case. There really aren’t any this time around.) So, for those of you keeping score at home, I wrote nothing for the 20-40k project here in February. Now, I’m planning to write all 20-40k in March.
Nothing wrong with giving yourself space to breathe and adjusting your goals along the way.
So there you have it! The Wednesday Pen, February edition. Relatively short and sweet, and almost 600 words. Time to get cracking on that final 12k, though!
If you’re a writer too, let me know how you did this month! We’re going to finish our projects, one word at a time!