Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Failing Better

Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
~ Samuel Beckett

I failed.

Despite my best efforts, I fell far short of my goal of completing the first draft of a novel during PaNoWriWe. I didn't even come close to writing 50,000 words; as of Monday night, my total word count was only 7,056.

The good news? I AM WRITING AGAIN.

And I have about convinced myself that maybe I can find a way to make writing a part of my daily routine. Even after school starts again and I resume full-time music teaching piano practice.

Because while I like to think that I don't waste time, if I am brutally honest with myself I can admit that I do: five minutes here checking blog stats and fifteen minutes there scrolling through the news feed on Facebook and ten minutes somewhere else looking at jewelry ideas on Pinterest, well, right there is thirty minutes that might arguably be better spent writing.

And while there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things, if I want to write a book - I mean if I really, truly want to write a book, then I need to make writing a higher priority.

Although my story has already taken some twists and turns, I haven't strayed so far from my note card scene outline that it isn't keeping me on track. So what if I were to designate a particular time slot each and every day to writing? Schedule it like I would a piano student, set a timer, pick up where I left off the day before, and write as fast as I can for thirty minutes? Perhaps set a weekly word count goal - say 2500 words - and make up the difference on Saturday and Sunday?

This just might work.

If you're skeptical, I can't say I blame you. If you've been reading this blog any length of time you know I have failed to meet my goals countless times before.

But I remain optimistic. Because maybe this time I have come up with the plan that will get me where I want to go.


Anonymous said...

I'm staying tuned. Let us know if scheduling that time slot works!

Pam Asberry said...

I sure will!

S.M. Carrière said...

I schedule, Pam. It's the only way I get things done. I have a time for writing, and I write in it. It doesn't matter how much I write in that time, just that I was writing in that time. It's worked for me thus far. I'll read on to see if it works for you.

Pam Asberry said...

That's reassuring, S.M. I will keep you posted!

padawanseekingmaster said...

So many writers I know are obsessed with this idea of making time to write, of shoving themselves inside a time box like it's a punishment. What I've found is writing should "always" be happening. Everything else fills the gaps.

Allow me to explain.

Driving to the grocery store? What would your character be doing right now. Who are they talking to. What point in the outline could you be conquering. Let your brain mull the possibilities over in the background.

Stringing some beads? What about your characters' favorite colors? Would they ever wear jewelry? Why does that even matter, they're more worried about _____....They would rather be doing _____....Jump starting your brain, into letting these issues organically unfold while your body moves through the motions, is a good way to gently train yourself to be consumed with your writing.

It's not that writing is the priority. It's that you are obsessed with your own story. You need to see it on the shelves, turn page after page. You need the characters to be extensions of yourself. If you've ever practiced zen/meditation, writing is a similar technique: take a back seat to your story; watch it in your own head, in your own words. Same scene on repeat or a new plot point or something that would never even make it in the draft. Just let the story manifest.

Pam Asberry said...

I agree wholeheartedly @padawanseekingmaster. But I only have that experience of "writing always happening" when I am actually writing on a regular basis. Otherwise my mind gets preoccupied with other things and I rarely think about my characters and my stories. I tell my students the same thing about practicing the piano. Thank you for your input and encouragement!