Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Ghost of the Writing Streak

Scott D. Parker

Last night was Day 200 in my consecutive-days writing streak. What’s funny about a habit, no matter what it may be, is the subtle joy you experience when you realize you have internalized the habit. For those first two or three months, I was obsession both about writing and the marking of the red X on the calendar. Now, I got days without marking the Xs on the calendar. It’s a great feeling.

What’s not so great is the spirit of the writing streak. Once I started writing again and especially in June when my consecutive days streak began, I’ve told myself to write at least a minimum amount of words. This has been a year of discovery for me and, for most of the year, writing a minimum of 500 words was pretty straightforward.

Until recently.

I’ve discovered something about myself in the past few weeks: I really enjoy reading, especially Christmas-themed works (remember that post a few weeks ago about my seasonal reading?). I really enjoy writing. There are only so many hours in the day. The streak has continued--but believe me, there were days when I thought about stopping it partly because I was tired and partly because I wasn’t doing too well with the current story. But I told myself that me not feeling it on a particular day or me not truly knowing what the next scene is proves to be stupid reasons to break the streak. To have broken the chain of Xs with either one of those reasons as the source would have resulted in a pretty bad result.

So, I’ve kept the streak alive, but the spirit of the streak has waned in recent days. I’ve not achieved the minimum on numerous days, but the streak has continued. Is that a good thing? I believe it is. Joelle wrote about that a few weeks ago. It was a nice thing to read at that time: to give yourself permission to produce less in this holiday season. It’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve moving the story *slowly* forward but reading a whole lot more. It’s a Win “win”. It’s a Win because I’m reading what I want to read. It’s a ‘win’ because I am writing every day but just not to the level of early this year. But I’m learning about myself. And I know what I'll be doing next year...and in January.

Do y’all learn things about your writing selves along the way and adjust?


David Cranmer said...

Kinda off subject. Actually a ways off the beaten path. But do you watch the Christmas themed Dr. Who episodes? In particular, Tennant and Smith? One even had Dickens featured and I immediately thought you'd get a kick out of them.

And to answer your question I do adjust but can't think of an example at this moment. But one must, right?

Scott D. Parker said...

Geek that I am, I've never seen a Doctor Who episode. Well, I saw the ones back in the late 70s, early 80s on PBS with the doctor who wore the long scarf. Man! I need to get on this show. The Christmas episode sounds like a perfect place to start.

Holly West said...

Congratulations on such a long streak. I need to commit to this too--500 new words a day no matter what else writing-related I need to do, whether it's writing a proposal or editing a manuscript. My problem is that if I'm working on something writing-related, writing new stuff tends to stop altogether. So that means I haven't really written anything new in about 3 months now. I don't like that.

David Cranmer said...

Try "The Snowmen" from 2012 with Smith as The Doctor. And "The Next Doctor" with Tennant is a favorite of mine. Remember to thank me later, Scott. You will be hooked.