I have felt kind of bad all week for not writing. I have been a person who feels bad for not doing the things I say I am going to do, rather than either a) just doing them, or b) acknowledging that I have a lot going on and cutting myself some slack.
I have also been a person who desperately wants to write a book, and who has talked about writing a book for years now, but somehow, still, no book. When I woke up this morning, I decided I have a choice: I can either choose to feel bad about not writing, or just write and move myself, slowly but surely, into the category of people who actually write books rather than those who just talk about writing them (while feeling bad).
Feeling bad about not writing does no good. It doesn’t enhance my word count or my chances of success. All it does is bring about more bad stuff that I have no interest in. I get down on myself because I think I don’t have enough time to write. I just have to accept that I have whatever time is available to me and work with it. John Grisham managed to find time to write while he was still working as a lawyer, didn’t he?
What I Am Writing
This week, I have only posted one other blog post, and I am only on day three of 90 Days to Your Novel (queue the feel bad feelings). My options: I can choose to forgive myself and keep going, or stay on the feel bad road for a while longer. Today, I am choosing the keep going route.
I am enjoying the process 90 Days to Your Novel is guiding me through. All of my previous attempts at writing have been made with not so much forethought and planning out what my book might actually be about. Hence the 17,000 word jumble I created a few years ago in my scraps of time in the mornings or during lunch breaks.
Ninety Days to You Novel starts out on day one with a recollection of memories about people, places, and things such as your first babysitter, your bedroom, and your favorite coat as a child. There were about 20 items to write about in each category. Day two drew on the memories generated in day one, asking the aspiring novelist to pick three memories and expand on them.
I am currently working on day three, which started with creating three character profiles based on three people in the memories from day one. Beyond these first three profiles, the assignment moves on to writing seven more character profiles of characters you would like to include in your novel.
I liked how this exercise was presented because writing the profile on the people I already knew or knew of in real life came much more easily than writing about my totally made up people. One thing that has always been challenging to me with fiction is questioning whether I am creating real people. I constantly struggle with what the character names should be and whether they are realistic and believable enough. Running through the same template on real people and then on fictional characters put me in a state of mind where I attempted to see the character as a real person just like the real people from my memories.
I still have three more character profiles to do. Then I will move on to day four. Even though this won’t be the actual day four since I got the book, I think what matters more is that I am actually returning to the book and exercises even if a week later. Thinking about completing my projects is a much happier mental place than the alternative: thinking they will never be completed. We can achieve our dreams if we continue to move ourselves forward and constantly believe that the goal is in sight.
What I Am Reading
I finally finished reading Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen the other week. I have been reading this book all summer because I wasn’t captured by the story all that much. I like Sarah Dessen and kind of want to be her, or someone like her, so I continue reading her books to learn more about young adult fiction.
My next young adult fiction will be The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I have been wanting to read this book since May but I told myself I had to finish my current YA fiction before starting a new one. I tend to start one book, then another, and another, and end up with a bunch of half finished books hanging around. I am still allowing myself to read multiple books, but they have to be in different genres.
I’m a little bit scared to read The Fault in Our Stars because I know it will be sad, but I also have heard it is really good so I’m looking forward to it. And I want to watch the movie but won’t let myself until I read the book first.
I couldn’t resist All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (non-YA fiction) once I found the audio book through my library. I’m always hesitant to listen to fiction on audio because I am afraid the narrator will interpret the characters differently than I would. I am loving the narrator of All Fall Down. She sounds like I would think this main character would sound, and I can work on projects around the house or put on makeup while listening. And bonus: she is a blogger!
Week in Writing & Reading Recap
Even though I often find myself either feeling bad about not writing or wishing I had more time to write, I am starting to realize that both are futile. Our energies would be much better spent putting only 10 or 20 minutes a day towards a worthy cause rather than doing nothing and feeling bad about it for the majority of the day. The same is true for reading, and audiobooks are the perfect answer to the “I don’t have time to read” excuse. If you ever drive a car alone, go to the grocery store, or put on makeup, there is time for an audio book!
Writing and reading are my happiness. Although science and math are highly encouraged in our society as being the subjects that make money, for me personally, writing and reading are the subjects that make happiness. I am willing to say that should count for something.
Do you catch yourself feeling bad about not getting to things you would like to spend time on? Can you identify 10 or 20 minutes in the day where you could add in an activity you would enjoy? Let us know your strategies below!