Writing Stints: I Should Get Back to Those

Howdy, howdy!  How is everyone’s year going so far?  I’ve been fairly productive in getting ready to dive back into revisions in a serious manner.  I read through the revisions thus far, made sure I knew where I was going with things, and reviewed the plot to come.  But I admit that it’s a daunting task to sit down and seriously work on the story.  That’s why I’ve been looking into different variations of writing stints/time management methods.  I thought I would ramble on about a few of my options today, since I have nothing else to write about.

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This is not wrong.

For a while, a friend and I did a couple of hour long stints a day (or when we were both writing at the same time).  In other words, we’d check in with each other with our goals for our stints that day, write (or revise or blog or whatever we needed to do) for an hour, take a short break to check in and rest, then repeat the last two steps until we met our goals or were exhausted.  That method worked for me.  It helped me concentrate and reporting in with said friend helped hold me accountable.  Unfortunately, life gets in the way of these things and makes it impossible for us to do this at the moment.  And, honestly, I don’t know if I could keep up that kind of momentum on my own.  An hour is a long time.  That’s why I’ve been looking at other options.

One of the most popular options for time management seems to be the Pomodoro Technique.  Yes, it means tomato.  Supposedly, the guy who started it used a tomato shaped timer.  In this one, you select a task and work for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break, and repeat 4 times, after which you take a 15 minute break then start all over again until you’re done.  It sounds useful and there are tons of apps to use that will help with my accountability issues.  I might try this.

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Apparently this is a thing.

Some of my other friends have recently started doing a 15 minute stint followed by two half hour stints and another 15 minute stint to finish up.  They take short breaks between each stint to check in with each other as well.  It’s a method they found on Twitter through Leigh Bardugo.  Our writing schedules just don’t mesh, so I haven’t been able to join them, but it seems like a helpful style.  Maybe live tweeting progress during breaks could even work for me.  Or at least posting progress on my private Facebook page.  I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to publicly announce how slow I am.

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Because cunning is better than speed.

Anyway, this is all to say that I need to start doing stints again.  I’ll probably try my old way on my own for a while.  If that fails, I’ll try the Pomodoro Technique.  What about you?  Do you have any time management tips?  What do you do to get yourself on track?  Feel free to share your thoughts, methods, or comments here or on my social media pages!

Rejected and Discouraged and That’s Okay

Hello there!  It’s almost the new year, so I should probably be writing about resolutions and all of that good stuff, but no.  I don’t do the whole “New Year’s Resolution!” thing.  Honestly, all they are 99.9% of the time are promises that aren’t followed through on.  Yeah… I’ll pass.  Instead, I’m going to be a bit of a downer and ramble for a while about how rejection and self-doubt are pretty much the norm for a writer.  But that’s okay.  It’s not the end of the world.

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Oh, Calvin.  Never change.

 

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I haven’t written anything aside from blog posts and a measly 200 words this month.  And no, I have no plans to remedy that in the next few days.  Why?  Because, I reached a point where I was feeling utterly discouraged and hit that “what’s the point?” wall.  For everyone who’s wondering if maybe I’m depressed, no.  It’s completely different.  It’s that angry “want to punch someone (except it’s not really anyone’s fault, so I have no one to direct said anger at) in the reproductive organs” type of feeling.  For me, at least.  Super annoying, right?

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Face works, too.  Not going to lie, this is oddly cathartic to watch.

 

 Nothing big happened to make me feel this way, it was just an accumulation of all the little things.  I suppose the most obvious thing would be the rejection slips that keep coming in from the places I submit short stories to.  I know they’re the hardest part of this whole writing gig for a lot of people, and yeah, I admit that sometimes they hurt, but I was ready for that going in.  It wasn’t until I got one last month (when I was already starting to feel the rage build) that it really got to me.  I had to stop and remind myself that rejection doesn’t equal failure.  My manuscript probably wasn’t even read!  Not that that makes any of this better, but it most likely sat in a slush pile for six months (and that’s a quick response time) only to have someone glance at the first sentence (if that much) and hit the reject button.  Call me cynical, but that’s how I picture it.

Speaking of six months in a slush pile, that’s what gets to me the most: the waiting.  Whether you’re sending it to a magazine or an agent or just your best writer pal for feedback, writing is mostly a waiting game.  Contrary to my behavior, I’m actually an exceedingly impatient person.  I was raised to get things done in a timely manner, to always meet deadlines, yadda yadda.  You know that whole “if you’re only five minutes early, you’re late” thing?  That.  So, the waiting gets to me.  I start thinking things must really suck (which is fine, just tell me that so I can fix it or move on).  But people in the writing field, like many creative folks, seem to have no concept of the movement of time outside of their stories.  I’m going to have to get used to that.  But, for now, I’m wallowing in the self-doubt it causes.

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Yes!

 

But you know what?  It’s okay to wallow sometimes.  Taking a long break can be helpful.  Recharging is needed.  In the past month, I’ve tweaked the plot on my novel-in-progress, come up with two ideas for other novels (possibly screenplays, I haven’t decided), and finally took the time to look at my screenplay-in-progress (which I’m thinking about getting back to in January).  I think I just needed some time to refuel.  In other words, know when to push through the pity party and when to embrace it.

I’ll see you next year!