This is one of a series of posts for my writing challenge, Minutes to a Better Book. You can read more about the challenge, and see all related posts here.
I Wrote an average of 2.5-3 hours a day, for ten days…
I’ve reached the 30-hour milestone for writing my books. I’m happy with the results:
- An almost-finished manuscript of The Witch’s Uprising (TWU)
- A longer manuscript than expected
- Meaningful changes to character arcs and conflict
- A completely posted Part One of TWU on Wattpad – You can read it here.
- Rankings on Wattpad going up:
- I was able to work through some writer’s apprehension I’d been having over the last few months.
- My mental health is better, and I’m starting to balance my life. This was the biggest success.
(There are, of course, always more details. You can check out my public posts on Patreon if you interested. All public posts are available here. )
Just Doing vs. Meeting Quotas: What writing without a word count made me realize…
Why does it feel so easy to write, all of a sudden? Maybe it’s because I have more time this summer than usual, but the very task of writing feels so different when I sit down to do it.
The real answer?
Between work obligations and commitments to friends and family, it had been hard to find time to create, and when I found the time, I didn’t write well.
I was out of balance. I touched on this briefly in my last post.
My time is balanced now, and when I sit down to write, I’m just writing and enjoying writing. It reminds me of a Zen Buddhist idea of being fully present while “just doing” something.
On that note, I stopped using word counts.
Writing without them has helped me be more creative. For example, I focused last week’s time on crafting scenes, and I wasn’t worried about reaching a quota of words. My characters came to life instead of robotically moving through their conflicts.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a fan of using word counts in the past, and why not? Word counts are useful. It’s nice to set a challenge. It’s nice to do a writing sprint every once in a while, but any method can become a crutch. The act of writing was no longer fun when I was just aiming at a particular goal.
I learned a valuable lesson this summer. By taking care of myself, my commitments, and my time, I was better able to enjoy writing – just writing. Setting aside blocks, without any arbitrary word count or quota to meet. Just writing for however long I can.
An hour. Two hours. Three if I have them.
I know I won’t have this much time forever. In fact, in a month and a half, my work-life balance will tip towards work. But after this summer, I won’t forget what I just learned:
-Make time for writing that doesn’t intrude on valuable family time and social commitments.
-Taking care of your mental health.
-Just write… Just write and enjoy writing.
Before this summer, time was scarce, but more specifically, my imbalance negatively impacted the quality of my time. I was putting goals on a pedestal, and while goals are fine, experience has taught me that putting goals before balance leads to burnout.
Balance is important. This whole process makes me want to do a better job balancing my life… I mean, who would want to miss a morning of this:
I hope you find a routine that works for you, and that you find a way to “just do” too.