Write a little, write a lot

First, I careened through a 2,500 word goal in a day. Mostly because that number took my overall word counts to tidy, delightful milestones on the last day of September. The novel now sits at just over 50,000 words, and also marked 85k for the entirety of 2014. This hasn’t been the easiest year to write through with the various ups and downs, but I’m still trucking along and can make my final aims if I push hard through the coming months. I don’t enjoy deadlines, but I do like a challenge.

Then on the tail of stubbornly plodding to that target, I blazed through writing a complete 2,600 word short story in two days. I declared it both a happy story, and spur-of-the-moment, but neither description is entirely accurate. The themes are, in my mind, much happier than a lot of what I otherwise write, but it’s a nostalgic and somewhat heart wrenching tale. I know this, because everyone to read the story thus far has informed me they were tearful by the end, and in one case, cried in public. (Haha. Teach you for beta reading my work at a café, M.)

The story has also been bubbling away at the back of my mind for a very long time, all because I promised a friend I would write a happy story one day. It’s taken somewhere in the vicinity of a year for me to reach this mournful answer to writing a piece not based on horror or darkness, nothing evil, just something very, very human. While I had let the idea germinate long before, I didn’t expect it to fall out, nicely whole, when a single additional incentive to write it immediately was added to the mix.

I found a place to submit the story, which I’m grateful for twofold: it gave me the final push which brought the short to completion, and also provides a prospective home for my bundle of words. My novels are my main work, but the amazing connections I’ve found through having shorter work published is an invaluable element of the experience. Those friends don’t know how much their presence and positivity serves to hold my hand when I silently worry I’m not big and vivacious enough to find a larger readership or propel my career where I want it to be. They are quiet support against a doubtful mind, not just when they share appreciation for my work, but by their companionship throughout. So I deeply value every opportunity I have to try and get more of my shorter work picked up.

I know I have a long way to go. Every extra word written is inching me closer to that purpose.



Lose a wish, gain another

I carry a wish/prayer box with me on a keyring. It’s just a small pewter cube with a magnetic fastener on the lid, with a tiny space inside to put a slip of paper with your wish/prayer written on it. There are pretty little swirlies as decoration, and the words “faith”, “love”, “joy”, and “hope” on each edge of the lid. Up until recently, my box carried a rolled strip of paper with some serious advice from a trusted author friend. Someone who talked me out of being stupid about my fears. Her words meant a huge amount, and they were exactly what I needed to hear, and I decided to copy them into my box to hang off my belt loop and reinforce the positive change I had to commit to.

On the keyring right beside the box is a small spiral cage holding my craggy ball of Apache Tear Obsidian, a grounding and creative stone. They go together well, and as a pair are my “touchstone”. A tangible sign of my intent, something to grab when I need a ready reminder of my will to grow and improve and overcome. In recent times, I had sat down to review my plans for the future, as the New Year tends to inspire. Not much about my goals has changed, but I did realise that the mantras inside my wish/prayer box had come to pass; I didn’t feel the same way about those troubles anymore. The repetition had worked and reinforced my ability to be confident in those areas. With this rather self-satisfied understanding, I grabbed my box to replace the note within-

And it was already gone. One empty box, no sign of my mini-scroll anywhere.

Make no mistake, I flip open the lid on the wish/prayer box near-daily (the magnetic clasp makes such a nice “clack” when it shuts!) and just peek inside. I didn’t need to pry out the note, unroll the paper, and read the message each day as I knew its words and meaning off by heart by that point. So it couldn’t have been gone for longer than a day, two at the very most. Right at the point where I’m concluding it’s time for a new mantra to lead me on?

So I lost one wish. It flitted away to the Nether to make way for something new, and did so at exactly the right time.


Ups and downs

The problem with trying to be positive about the achievements I’ve already made, the goals I have reached, and the work I have successfully completed, is that I am still all too aware of what I haven’t gotten around to doing yet.

I know, only so many hours in the day, busy person with many responsibilities, Life constantly getting in the way with a relatively challenging year behind me. I do know that. It doesn’t help knowing exactly why I am still behind on what I intended by this point. Being able to catalogue my positives doesn’t erase the comparable negatives.

I do try to stay up-beat about things, of course. After all, I’m sitting on a really engaging fantasy series which just requires patient attention to get the first book out there. I keep myself sane by working out numerical estimates. Check the amount of words remaining, divide by page averages, calculate how many weeks it will take me if I cover the bare minimum every day. It gives me the sense of an ending. This isn’t going to be forever. There is a point within reach where things will be finished. And it’s not too far away, even just getting through a single page each day.

I have the trouble of impatience (I know, I’ve talked about that too much already), which means I bury myself amidst a mound of doubt when things hit delays. Today’s lesson is: stop measuring myself at my peak rate. It makes me feel bad when I can’t maintain the pace because uncontrollable things cropped up in the meantime.

I just need to trust in myself, and in the Universe, that the overall plan is going just fine. As long as I show up for the minimum each day, just one little page, there will always be forward progress. Chipping away.