Back in January, I texted one of my best friends, and in a delusional fit that was (believe it or not) not brought on by alcohol I asked “hey, if I made it my New Year resolution to write six books in year, would you be my editor?” Her response contained only two words:
I did. She was concerned about a great many things, mostly my mental health. I sparred each of her decent points with weak arguments pulled straight from my resume: I’ve worked as a professional storyteller; I write all the time for grad school; it’s better than scrolling through Facebook. Eventually, I wore her down, and my new challenge started.
Lots of people do writing challenges. People have tried to write like Stephen King for a certain number of days, or tried to hit a daily word count, or embarked on the infamous NaNoWriMo. I’ve read those blog posts and scoffed at the ridiculous pressure people put on themselves. Now, here I am, pushing myself to worse extremes with a publishing date glaring at me from the calendar.
It’s been a joy.
It has been a gift, that little demon on the planner page. There’ve been a great many days that started in a slump. Before this challenge, I would’ve spent those dreary days watching YouTube and eating whatever was in the kitchen. This year, my deadline has been a voice of reason, coaxing me out of bed, into clean clothes, and in front of the computer. 2,000 words into a day, I start to feel accomplished. 3,000, I feel on top of the world. 4,000, I feel sleepy (we all have our limits).
I also find that this constant writing pushes me to be a better person. Any anger or frustration that I have, I can work out on the page. Granted, that doesn’t always make for the best writing, but bad chunks can be edited out at a later date. As I work to get all of the images in my head onto the page, the ticking clock keeps me from second guessing myself. I do not care if my words are the best in world. I care whether or not I am clearly communicating the story, and my self confidence rises with every clack of the keyboard (not the clicks, just the clacks). I was even bold enough to release a sample chapter last week.
It’s been a pain.
Still, the challenge hasn’t been all roses and kitten fluff. It comes with a great deal of guilt. The days when I have to work late into the night and my body won’t let me stay up long enough to type more than a few words, those days are hard. The days when a new scene is stuck in my head and I have a mountain of homework staring me in the face, those are even worse. I have had moments when I just shut down and can’t write anything as the imagined pressure builds.
So where am I?
The end of the year is fast approaching. I DO have three rough-draft books done and ready to edit. I have one more partially done, and three more heavily outlined. I’m a little behind schedule, but moving at a rate that should (fingers crossed) get me there in time. I guess we’ll all see.