Tuesday, October 25

Final Tally in My 21-Day Writing Challenge



Man, I’m amazed. I did it. Twenty-one days, I hauled my happy butt out of that nice warm bed, trotted right to my office, and sat down and wrote. I didn’t stop to make coffee or get dressed or check email or social media. I wrote. Final word tally for three weeks is just over 22,000 words. 

So, what’s the takeaway? First of all, I can do it—I can write. That’s a biggie because I’d pretty much convinced myself I was no longer much of a writer. Life got in the way and I let it. I think that happens to all of us, don’t you? Illness, death of a loved one, finances, jobs, family responsibilities, housekeeping—it all distracts us. And of course the first thing we allow to drop off our plate is the one thing we love doing the most. Is that a woman thing or a human being thing? I’m not sure, I should probably get Husband’s take on that one, although now that I think of it, I see Son doing the same thing. He’s overwhelmed with work, family, caring for a home, being a husband, parenting a young child, trying to finish up his PhD. Music, which he loves, gets done in spurts instead of every day. It’s not a priority. Pleasure’s the only reason to play guitar, so it can wait. It must be an adult thing . . .

Second, I’ve wondered frequently in the last couple of years whether writing is worth the effort when I’m so frustrated with ads and promotions and trying to figure out ways to get my books in front of a larger audience without spending a small fortune. In May, at Spring Fling, I pitched the Women of Willow Bay to some traditional publishers and every single one requested to see a full of the first book, synopses of the other two, and a proposal for the rest. So far, I can’t say the results have been very spectacular. One editor turned the series down, although she repeatedly told me how “wonderful” my writing is; another is mildly interested in the last two books that I haven’t put out as an indie; and publisher #3 has pretty much ignored me. But you, know, after twenty-one days of writing every day, I can say that yes, it’s worth the effort. So, I’ll probably try some other publishers while I’m writing Sarah and Libby’s stories. I’m even considering a Christmas novella for next year so I can tell Jack Reilly’s story as he graduates from Julliard and goes out into the world. Who knows? 

And third . . . yeah, there is a third, but it has nothing at all to do with writing. It has to do with proving to myself that I’m not losing my ability to focus and commit, which is something that I’ve worried about since Dee got sick and David died and CL was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Kate died and my body has started to sometimes feel like it’s ninety-three years old. For the past couple of years, sticking to anything except work has been hard. I’ve promised myself so many different times that I was going to maintain a diet, an exercise regimen, a housecleaning schedule; that I’d go to the gym regularly, that I’d swim in the lake or walk the shore every day, that I’d get on my bike or get the damn gardens weeded every week or . . . well, you get the picture. But it wasn’t happening and I was feeling more and more like somehow, I’d lost control of the disciplined person I once was. Well, she’s still in there—go figure, and I’m doing a little internal squee that she hasn’t abandoned me completely. 

Can I keep it up from now on? Maybe. Dunno—I guess we’ll just take it day-by-day. That seems to be working out so far . . . at least it has for the last three weeks. Thanks for sharing this journey with me. Next Tuesday, back to our regularly scheduled Word Wranglers . . .

12 comments:

  1. It was a good journey--I enjoyed it vicariously! Hope Dee's doing better.

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    1. It was, wasn't it? She's holding on, so right now, so am I. Hugs, baby!

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  2. You can do it! I propose another 21-day challenge... Take it in small bites, and the next thing you know, you'll have finished the book! (These words of encouragement come from someone who called quits on her resolve to get up early and exercise... before that first morning!) :-)

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    1. You know what? I totally appreciate any words of encouragement because we are all in the same damn boat, aren't we? I'm going to keep getting up and doing this thing. The sense of accomplishment is really satisfying. Thanks for your support, Ava!!

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  3. congrats, Nan, and I think you can definitely do it!

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    1. Thanks, Kristi! I'm going to try!

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  4. Nan, congratulations. You also are an inspiration to me. I seem to have lost my way with writing and many other things because life got in the way and sometimes I just don't have the energy. You have proven that the focus and discipline is not gone. Good for you!

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    1. Isn't it funny how we all do that? As much as we love to write, it seems to be the first thing to go when life gets hectic. Hang in there, Carolyn!!

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  5. Yay! I'm so excited and inspired by you. And as for all the other things you mentioned--dieting, biking, cleaning--I think it's a pretty universal thing to let those slide. At least, that's what I tell myself :)

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    1. Thanks, Margie! Yup, it is pretty universal to let those kinds of things slip past us. Keep on keeping on, baby!

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  6. WTG, Nan! I've been writing more lately myself, but that's mainly because, at least for the time being, I've run out of yard work to distract me. No doubt the holidays will be the next time-sucking culprit. :)

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    1. Hey Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by! Yup, we can always find something else that seems more important at the time. I'm going to keep getting up and writing, but if I miss a day or decide warm husband beats cold office, I'm not going to sweat it. ;-)

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