Does not updating writing progress for three months count as writing?
The Wednesday Pen has been a little absent these last few months. See, it turns out trying to write in the middle of a global pandemic is a lot harder than they tell you, even though they definitely tell you. Still, we’re back for the first time since February, and…progress is progress?
Way back in February, I said I intended to write somewhere between 20-40k on a personal project. Then, for the entirely of March and April, I didn’t write a thing. For a lot of reasons, some deeply personal, and some shared with basically everyone (namely, the pandemic), I didn’t put pen to paper or my fingers to the keyboard for anything more than blog posts. I’m not especially proud of it, either. Continuing to write is important, because it’s so much like a muscle. Repeated use makes for better words.
But I let it all sit for two months because that’s where my brain was at, and my sense of discipline was nowhere to be found. I think an underlying sense of panic chased it out of that good old upstairs brain apartment for a while.
That said, it’s back! Sort of! While I still haven’t touched that personal project (feel free to prod me about that, honestly), I did treat myself to about 10k on self-indulgent fic, along with another couple thousand of just fiddling around. In total, I put out 11,567 words for May, and I think I may get through another 5k before the month is out. I’m feeling the bug, and I have a couple things I promised to people, which tends to boost my productivity when we’re talking about short fiction.
Overall, it’s not the writing triumph I so badly want for myself, but after two months of nothing at all? I’ll take it.
Did I learn anything since the February Wednesday Pen besides “f@*# trying to write during a pandemic”? The answer is…yes, surprisingly. We’ll start with that one, though, since it’s obvious.
I’ve always tried to be at least a little forgiving of not meeting my writing goals in a month. I can’t plan for every interruption, or for huge fluctuations in my mental health. That’s just life, and sometimes adapting means letting go of that really, really intense need to check off every single thing on my to-do list in short order. And right now, this goes double. I’ve been on a roller coaster regarding my job, my health, my loved ones’ health, and all kinds of other things. There have been far more pressing matters in my life than writing, and I just have to live with the fact that I didn’t write. You try writing when the pen is on fire. And the paper. And your computer. And your whole life. That’s pretty damn hard.
But the other big lesson I’ve taken out of this? I write more when it’s not under pressure. Nearly 10k of my progress this month is from a burst of self-indulgent fic meant for my eyes and the eyes of my best friend only. No pressure, just wild abandon and fun! And isn’t that what should fuel writing whenever possible?
I can’t promise all my writing will have that same spirit behind it. That just doesn’t always happen. But I’ve learned that it does change how smoothly the words flow, and how willing I am to revisit my work or start leaning into something new.
Admittedly, it feels…inadvisable to make June goals. My track record for meeting goals this year has been sloppy, to tell the truth, and it makes me hesitant to put down concrete numbers. Still, that 20-40k project I’ve been dodging is lurking over my shoulder, and I want it done. So, that ends up being the top priority for the next Wednesday Pen.
Beyond that, I’m cautiously optimistic about doing roughly 10k on some old fic that brings me joy. Why not work on something I miss?
When it comes down to it, though, these honestly aren’t hard and fast goals. I’ll be working long hours this month as well, I think, and that wears me out faster than almost anything. Couple that with the reading and writing I do for this blog, and that only leaves oh so much time to write. Still, I have to try. It’s going to feel so good to start knocking some of these projects out so I can move on to new things!
Hopefully next month, I’ll come to you with more triumphant news. The Wednesday Pen was meant to be a celebratory kind of post, tracking my progress in a satisfying way. It hasn’t lived up to that yet, but only because I have some work on my end to do first.
If you’re a writer, we should connect! I’m always willing to chat, and I’m easiest to find here or on Twitter!