So yeah. The challenge.
So did not work the way that I was planning. I did not get hte amount of words that I thought that I was going to get done on paper. Nor, did I get all the other things on my list of to-do’s either.
But that’s okay. I did learn a few things.
When I sit out to write and produce and let my creativity approve of the shitty first draft, I can churn out material. The problem was that when I made the challenge I didn’t realize that my roommate would have nothing to do and so bother me, or her proximity would make me reach out to her. #distractions
I did manage to get about half of the challenge and I did get a couple of 5000 word days in there, but I didn’t do it all 10 days like I was aiming. Mostly, because I did set this as a push goal, not a stretch goal. I wanted to push myself, get out of a rut that the whole being stuck inside was giving me.
Stuck being the key word here.
This whole virus pandemic has thrown everyone for a loop. I’ve written this article as a pre-write with a list of things that I thought I was going to accomplish at the beginning. Channeling a little Jim Carrey in writing my own 10 million.
I rewrote this two days ago, when I did not think that I was going to make the 50K goal and that I was okay with the situation. My intent was to push myself out of the mud.
You know the theory that if you’re pushing your car to the side of the road someone is more likely to stop and help you. Or that it will start moving on it’s own with enough energy?
Yeah, that was the goal.
Did it work?
Or maybe I learned that I do best when my writing doesn’t have an attached goal in it. That I can sputter for a 1000 words about whatever grievance I have for the day and that it doesn’t matter that no one is going to read it. I got it out of my system.
Before writing this particular blog post I did a mind dump. that fun exercise where all the things floating around in your mind go down on paper and stay there. Instead of floating up and out of reach until they keep you awake at night.
But am I happy with my lower word count than I originally thought I was going to have.
Because I found out what worked. I didn’t spend a lot of time on it every day, the days that I did do the 5000 words was the days that I spent 2 hours on it, and 22 on something else. I didn’t have to produce the best content but I did find that after the first thirty minutes of pattering on that I got into a grove.
Some days, it didn’t take that 30 minutes and I jumped back into the story before the timer I was using started so I could put it down on paper. Pomodoros reigned as my old best friend and well, I did actually get a few things done.
It also probably helps that I started this month with my new self-development read of Deep Work by Cal Newport because I liked his other work that I read last year, and well, I know that with my own shortcomings I need to focus. The more the better.
This challenge wasn’t about teaching me new tricks to get my speed faster and my words on the page clearer. It really was about me finding that spot where I sit in the chair and it starts flowing out instead of cranking out like an old window.
I found that spot now.
It showed up consistently on the days when I sat down to write and it was just past that 20-minute mark that I used to stop at because I was not getting anywhere.
Now, I make a different challenge. One, that’s more geared to knowing my own weakness rather than trying to find them and tease them out of the other problems that build onto each other. It’s a process, this way of habit stacking that doesn’t look anything like building a habit but in truth really is one.
To anyone who felt slighted that I wanted you to reach for something more in this time of your life when nothing is normal, the world is going sideways, and no one really knows that tomorrow is going to happen–that wasn’t the point.
The point was to give people grasping for a new normal, a way to make one. I beat myself up a lot this week because I didn’t do the 5000 challenge everyday. In fact there were two days that I didn’t write a single word and they weren’t weekend days so that did matter.
So what do I do in April? Well, I really still do need to write about 2000 words a day in order to catch up to my yearly goal for writing 366,000 words (or 1000 words a day). I’m currently at 53,409 words for the year, and I really should be at 91K right now, but I’ll work on getting it up to the 121K that I should be according to the number of days in the year we are.
Well, I’ll get started on that today, anyways. The 1st is my birthday and sometimes you just have to let your goals do their own thing while you figure out what works best for you.
IF you met that goal for X words a day, or this or that to push yourself, comment below about what you learned about your progress. Did it get easier to accomplish every day or did you produce of half quality work in order to get more done?