Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Trying to write more

I can’t remember when or exactly why I started doing this, but I keep track of how many words I write each day.  Part of it was probably that I wrote it on my calendar so I could feel bad if I hadn’t written anything for three or four days.  After doing that for some time, I decided to take the advice I’d read countless times in writing magazines (this was probably around 2002) and write every day.  At first it was a bit of a struggle and I gave myself a lot of cheat days, but I eventually got into the habit of writing practically every day.  (The day I posted this was the 792nd day in a row I had written, which I believe is my current record.)

Now, writing every day is fine, but it also helps if you have a daily goal.  The goal I set for myself was 137 words a day.  (This will explain why.)  For some prolific writers, that is a really low goal.  Besides personal reasons for setting it at that, I also set it “low” so that I wouldn’t get discouraged if I missed it.  And a lot of things can get in the way of writing: needing to veg after a long day of work, illness, or having 8,000 other things to do.

For a few years I did pretty good, but for the last couple of years my daily output hasn’t been that great.  I have written almost every day for a decade or so, but some days it’s just adding a note like “Character A has some centaur food that Character B has never heard of.” That’s it.  I’ve been following the letter of “Write every day” but not the spirit.

Part of the reason I wasn’t writing much was because I was being overworked.  I got a part time job so I could make some money but still have time to help my parents and write.  But it soon turned into one of those 39 hours a week “part time” jobs, which was good because I needed to pay for a new car, but also sucked because it was so stressful I just wanted to veg when I got home.  Recently I’ve cut back to just two or three days a week, and now I have time and I’m not as stressed, which is a bit weird.

But another part of the reason I wasn’t writing that much was YouTube.  What happened was I found an interesting channel dealing with history.  They had some 300 videos, and I started watching all of them.  About fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else and I checked their channel out.  They were interesting and had some 300 videos of their own.  I started watching all of them, and about fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else.  It got to the point where I now have a bookmark folder of fifty or so YouTube channels I need to check out.  So in addition to all the channels I already followed, I’m working through the backlogs of two or three other channels.  While there are a few humorous channels I follow, most concern history, science, literature, etc.  I’m not memorizing everything I’m watching, but I’m at least getting exposed to a great deal of stuff.  Who knows what little tidbit stuck in my brain will birth a story, or someday help me out of a jam? 

Now to be honest, I will admit that there are days where I’ll just sit and binge YouTube or Netflix for like ten hours.  Some days it was because I was ill or injured, and really didn’t feel like doing anything.  But a lot of it is the “I only have twenty more episodes of this series to watch.  The sooner I finish it, the sooner I can get back to writing.  Or probably find another series to watch.” I felt terrible because I knew that if I spent a fraction of that time writing, I’d actually get shit done.  I’ve tried limiting the number of hours of videos I watch each day, or setting a set amount and if I want to watch another hour I have to write for an hour, and a dozen or so little tweaks to the system.  I haven’t found one that works all the time yet.  All I can say is that I’m trying to write more.  And that includes blogs, so hopefully it will only be weeks between posts and not months.

No comments:

Post a Comment