Since releasing Ever Touched, I’ve been at loose ends. Sure, I have a few books in the hopper, and editing jobs (shameless plug: anyone need an editor? My rates are reasonable and I am crazy meticulous!) and the day job but….my brain has been fried. Releasing a book takes so much out of me. It’s awesome, and fun, but it’s also a lot of work. And I learned that after releasing Fey Touched in 2012 – I had rewritten the entire second half in 2 weeks (~60k), my wrists were shot, and my brain was mush. I didn’t write a word of fiction for 2 months. Sure, I felt the urge, but that was it. I couldn’t contemplate it. My brain just did one of these every time I thought about it: huh? Whatcha talking about, Willis?
Yeah. So I accepted that I needed the break. That was…tough.
Now that I’ve done it three times, I know the pattern. I have actually been writing, but nothing fixed and definitely not thousands of words (well, fiction-wise. I have a nonfiction book I’m writing that’s 15k in. I guess my brain feels nonfiction isn’t so taxing?). It’s a miracle if I even write anything these days.
I have some stress going on. Some of it I can’t talk about yet, and some of it is the trigeminal neuralgia. And…other things. Not fun things. So I’m sure that enters into the equation.
But then Camp NaNoWriMo started July 1st, and a writer friend of mine in a Facebook group started her “Don’t Break the Chain” challenge.
I thrive on challenges. I am invigorated by them. So these two came at just the right time.
For Camp, I went with a goal of 10,000 words between two projects (I had a hard time just picking one)(and possibly I am insane). I originally had a 30,000 word goal, but a few days before I looked at it and said, “yeah, right! In your dreams, sucker!” and changed it. I can raise it if I want to later. So far, I am halfway there.
“Don’t Break the Chain” — at least for writers, anyway — is a challenge where you continuously write x number of words a day, every day, and strive to not “break the chain” by skipping or stopping or what have you. Our goal is 100 words, which I love. (If you remember, this was my goal after starting to write after not writing for 3 months because of the TN. It worked beautifully then). It is doing wonders for me. Because i am so driven and a bit insane about wordcounts, I was feeling crappy about not having the big ones (~1k or more) and not having big progress on my novels. But during this time, I realized that I needed to be gentle with myself, and what better way to do that than to set an ultra low goal that can be made very easily? Of course, I have gone over. I wrote 1,091 one day. But most of the time, my counts are 100 words or a bit more.
What’s interesting about it is that my stories are unfolding very slowly. It’s almost like writing a serial, or stopping a movie ten minutes in and then watching just ten minutes the next day, and so on. I’m getting teeny, tiny little bits and it’s kind of exciting wondering what’s next (more so than usual). It’s a very different kind of writing, and it is working for me very well.
And as I said, I needed it. I needed something to poke around my stories with that was low stress and easy. I may continue to do something like this next month if I can.
But really, all it comes down to this: every word is a win. Every word is another word I didn’t have before. I’ve made something exist out of nothing in little pieces that will someday be whole and beautiful.