Setting outrageously big writing goals

Here’s something it’s taken me a while to figure out, if my goal is to write less, I write less. If my goal is to write more, somehow I find a way to make it happen.

I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of months feeling burned out. Part of that was the 90,000 word book I had to write for work (a programmer’s guide) or at least so I thought. It can feel like there is a finite amount of writing energy, of creativity, at any one time. And yet I still have stories and ideas bursting to get out, things I want to discuss on the blog, and experiments that hopefully help me to grow as a writer.

It was feeling difficult to wake up and have the motivation to write every morning, and so if I couldn’t manage that, I wouldn’t write at all that day, even when I had better energy around my lunch break. Some of this is distraction, sickness, the cold of winter and video games. I do believe that writing can sometimes ebb and flow, but only as much as we let it.

I’m probably taking too much on at a time. I’m committing to write five times a week on the blog (plus posts for Going Deeper). I’m writing a serial novella, editing a current novel, considering how to revise another novel, and thinking of another to get started in rough draft. And I’m thinking about at least another two non-fiction projects that I’ll be trying to get some work done on this year.

And the funny thing is I’ve never felt more energized. Sure it felt rusty at first. It can feel a little depressing to take an hour to write a 300 word review, but once you get everything turned over, once you get the motor running, everything flows as easily as it used to. Part of this isn’t just writing. I’m kicking up the amount I read too, whether it’s interesting articles online, or books from NetGalley, or yes, even comic books. I still need a way to reset at the end of the day like before, I can just choose to do it in a way that doesn’t suck up hours of my life and thought processes.

We write what we are doing. If we’re sitting around letting the snow get us down, and piling on another blanket, we may be cozy, but we’re not working. Again I’m not saying it’s bad to rest. Maybe I did need a rest, and I just have the kind of personality that circles back in on itself and kicks me around for not being more productive. Case in point, when I was first starting to write posts again, it felt like I wasn’t getting as much done as I should, and I was kicking myself for not working much these last couple of months.

Screw that noise, if you’ll pardon the expression. It’s never helpful to dwell on work you haven’t done, just be excited about the work you are doing. Admittedly some of this is the high of the natural reset caused by the new year, but if it is, then I can pair down to what’s working and keep going from there. But I do feel passionately about writing a lot of projects at the same time, if nothing else to always make use of the part of me that is feeling fresh. If I work the same thing for too long I get tired and I put it down, and then it feels rusty to get back into it. But if I always have something to turn my mind to and get it going in a different direction, then I still feel like I’m making progress and can come back to the other work with a fresh perspective.

I also like getting myself into holes by committing to you guys, whether its the number or type of posts each week, or whether its proposing a project I may or may not really have time for, but want to try and want to get you guys excited about so I can feel the pressure to write the next installment 🙂

So here’s to a year of frantic writing. Maybe I’ll do a NaNo this year too 🙂

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Filed under Writing, Writing Goals

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