Making Writing a Habit (or, How I Have Failed At It)

I have to give a round of applause to the people who have made writing something that they do everyday, even with full time jobs, kids, dogs, other hobbies, etc.

Every month I create my new planner spread and tell myself I’ll write just 5,000 words this month. Then I write zero.

When a big writing event comes around, and I know have support and people checking in on me, I write, but the last few years, it hasn’t been as much as I would like to. I’m mostly referring to NaNoWriMo. Last November, even with my students cheering me on, I got just 13,000 words in. Now I am so extremely proud of those 13,000 words, and they’re the beginning of a project that I am SOO SO SO passionate about.

I’ve spent the last month really planning out how to make this the best thing I’ve ever written. I feel like I have a huge opportunity with this novel and I want to do it justice.

Step one to doing it justice:

I NEED TO FINISH IT.

I’m on summer break, so I set the measly goal for myself to finish this novel. I’m at about 15,000 words. I can see it going to about 75,000, but I’m not dead set on a certain word count.

I’m one week into summer vacation, and I’ve written ZERO.

I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo for July, but part of me is recognizing that my lazy self will probably not write anything until July 1st now, and if that happens, I won’t finish this this summer.

Writing is not a habit for me. My habits are watching Food Network and obsessively checking Facebook. I wish my habits could be working out, eating right, and writing, but alas.

I know I can correct this on my own. It’s as easy as just WRITING EVERYDAY.

But since it took me two hours to even write this, I guess that means I’ll start tomorrow. (and hence, my issue ha…)

If you make writing a daily (or almost daily) habit on top of the rest of your life, kudos to you. I aspire to be you. I have 8 weeks left of my vacation to change my habits before real life (teaching 7th graders) comes back around again.

Wish me well! (or tell me your secrets!)

Monday Musings #13

Outback

(I started this on Monday. It took me a day to finish it haha!)

This is my first year teaching, and I have one big complaint to make:

Why do we have to raise kids to only be expository writers and not creative writers?

This is the biggest complaint of all teachers, right? We have to teach to a test, not teach our kids things they’ll use in real life. Not all kids are going to grow up to write academic papers in their career for their entire life.

Should students be writing expository often? Obviously. Most college writing is expository in nature and it should be mastered before you get there.

But how do we raise the next JK Rowling when creative writing
is barely touched in school?

Continue reading

I Read 6 Books in 2017…

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But I accomplished so many other things I had never planned for, so is that really something to be ashamed of?

Hello friends! Long time, no post!

So I logged into Goodreads on 12/29 and was so depressed when I saw how far from my minuscule 30-book goal I still was. 30 books is barely one per 2 weeks. I had friends accomplish their 75-100 book goals! What! Continue reading

Long Time, No Post

Outback

Good morning, friends. And thank you.

You stuck with me even during a tumultuous 2-week hiatus in which I made excuses for myself, got so much dental work done, and started really considering what my future holds for me.

So to update, I wrote a total of 147 words during Camp NaNoWriMo. That same feeling washed over me on day 1 as it did last year, where I had built up too much excitement it seems for the novel I’d been planning to write. And then when the first day came along, it all washed away. I was stoked to write I Should’ve Eloped. But I think in postponing the wedding, all the anger I held towards planning the damn thing washed away too. Continue reading

Questions on My Mind Today

  1. How terrible is it if I go get a chocolate milkshake from Sonic after my dentist appointment today? 
    1. I truly feel I need to reward myself for doing this. It’s been 9ish years (don’t judge me) and I have super terrible anxiety with dentists and people being so close to my face and I’m really trying to stay calm today but it’s getting harder as the hours tick by.
  2. Why is starting a new book/story so hard?
    1. I know exactly where I want it to start, but actually getting it down and not hating it is proving to be a pain. Especially considering that I have this fancy new notebook for I Should’ve Eloped and I just wanted the first chapter to be handwritten, but I’ve already had to rip a page out because I hated the first sentence so much. Maybe I should type it out first until I’m mostly happy, then I can transcribe it? Hm.
  3. Am I ever going to finish this book I started reading?
    1. It was a free ARC from a publisher and I’m pretty sure the review was due last month. It’s not even a bad book. But it’s also not my favorite genre of book. I took it out of my purse and I keep forgetting to put it back. Oh well, I’m sure I can get through a good chunk while I sit in the waiting room at the dentist this afternoon.
  4. Why can’t people arrange work projects ahead of time, instead of springing them on an unsuspecting person all of a sudden? And then taking forever to respond to emails about it?
    1. Grumble grumble work problems.
  5. Why does time go by so fast when you’re not looking forward to something, but it goes sooo slow when you are excited about something?
    1. Did I mention my dental anxiety? Gahhhh.

 

Happy Monday, friends. I hope yours goes better than mine. I’ll share some news about my Camp novel tomorrow when I’m not pushing my luck with an ulcer. 🙂

Monday Musings #12

A Rant About Starbucks:

Outback

First, please pardon my lack of postings last week. February’s been a tough month, but I think we’re finally getting over the hump. At the same time, I think the last 4 months before a wedding are the worst. So we’ll see how this goes. Especially with the stress of my first dress fitting in 8 weeks. #makemeskinnynowplease

OK. A rant about Starbucks today. I’ve been a pretty loyal fan of their overpriced coffee-type beverages for several years ago. Call me your typical white girl (I did own a pair of Uggs [til the bottom ripped off], and I have an iPhone with monogrammed phone cases), but I’ve never denied my Starbucks habit. I get at least $50+ in gift cards every year to Starbucks.

I secured my gold status in like April last year to stay safe until March 2016. The way their rewards system has been set up is that each purchase gets you 1 star, and (if you’re a Gold member) after you hit 12 stars, you get a free menu item.

Ever since I started to unsuccessfully diet, I stopped drinking their Frappuccinos, mochas, etc. and settled instead for a plain old cup of coffee. Usually the blonde roast, but the Pike Place was fine too.

It was a good set up. After I bought 12 coffees, I would get a free one.

But NOT ANYMORE. Continue reading

Monday Musings #11

On Inspiration:

Outback

I’ve had a pretty crappy month, not gonna lie. But what I’ve learned in the process of that is that sometimes when things suck, you’re opening the door to yourself as a writer to find some pretty good inspiration.

Now, let me tell you about my Friday night:

Once I knew that we were in for the evening, I popped open the bottle of wine I had just bought (funny story, while buying it, I made the cashier sad because of how young I was. Apparently she graduated from high school the year I was born. Can’t harsh my mellow though, I was already in a bad mood ha!). ANYWAY. Opened the wine, drank it and another bottle (this is not a common occurrence, I promise).

Started trying to read a book (do not recommend), and then decided that I was just going to watch TV. Normally I turn to the Food Network, but I needed something different.

Open up my DVR screen and BAM. Grey’s Anatomy was back!

I don’t know if any of you saw it, but I sobbed (no shame) and after watching it, I didn’t even delete it. I rarely watch things twice, that but episode was everything I love about thriller/drama genre type of stuff. That episode was my favorite, even beating out the Superbowl episode with the bomb, and the two-part plane crash episode, and the ferry crash episode. (I think we can sense a theme in my favorite episodes haha!)

I kept it on my DVR to use as inspiration. After I watched it, I wanted to write something so bad, but I was quite inebriated and even though I’ve written a post called ‘Write Drunk, Edit Sober‘, it doesn’t mean I’m necessarily going to DO it (not yet anyway). Continue reading

Monday Musings #10

500 Words or Less:

So there’s this writing contest that I’m trying to enter. The challenge for me? A captivating, complete story in 500 words or less. I’m not always the most wordy person, but there’s a reason I have more novels (finished or not) than short stories in my personal portfolio.

To me at least, writing short stories is harder than writing a novel. Especially 500 words or less. Flash fiction I guess you could consider this?

I did take one January-term seminar on flash fiction, and it never got easy for me. I hardly ever feel like my story hits its potential in 2 pages.

I did write one piece to try submitting, but I had 3 people read it, one who was also an English/CW major, and two who aren’t, and got some interesting feedback. Confusing too, because everyone has a completely different opinion about it. Everyone read into it differently (although that was intentional). And everyone thinks it’s a different stage as far as being turn-in ready. Gah! What am I supposed to do now? Hm. Continue reading

Monday Musings #9

On Procrastination:

Yesterday I read a post by Bryn Donovan titled “Stop Procrastination and Unleash Your Full Power… In Writing and Everything Else” and boy did it make me remember the good ole days of college (like they were so far back, my goodness haha).

I’ve always been a master procrastinator. If such a degree existed, I would have it for sure. Maybe it’s not a good thing to have, but oh well.

In college, I was terrible. We’d get a syllabus at the beginning of the semester with deadlines. We’d get the actual assignment for papers at least a month before the due date. Some classes scheduled library research days where we would learn (for the millionth time) how to use the library resources, find good articles, etc. This class day got incredibly old come my junior and senior year. Just because we’re taking a 100-level class does NOT mean we need to learn how to do research, my goodness. They’d make us turn in an outline or an intro paragraph or whatever.

No matter how hard they tried, I wrote papers the night they were due. Even if they required a rough draft ahead of time, that was written the night before, and then the final paper was rewritten/edited the night before as well.

Some funny (terrible) college procrastination stories: Continue reading