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  • Karina Sokulski

Meeting My Writing Goals: Let's Try Something Scarier

So here I am again, writing in small bursts to entice myself back into the groove and working out an entirely new game plan for my deadlines. The insomnia is slowly letting up and giving me another hour or two of sleep, and my overly critical mind of what I'm writing has needed its own breather from attacking every letter my cursor produces on the screen. It's been an odd week of a sever lack of productivity but I'm convinced I'm starting to see the light at the end of this...randomly placed tunnel.

I'm grateful this incident of writer's block occurred when it did as the only deadlines that suffered were the ones that were self-imposed, and not ones I'm contractually obligated to meet.

As much as a relief as this is however, I'm going to have to start again from scratch on the deadlines I missed. I've got a couple of first drafts of a manuscript to finish by year's end and there's still so much to do.

I've never quite been the writer that was great at keeping up with word counts. The very mention of numbers makes me shutter. I'm distractible when it comes to catching my word count and often stop writing to highlight what I've written to see where I'm at. I do this again, and again...and by the time I realize I'm fretting too much over the numbers, I realize I've forgotten to write!

Even so, I will say through much determination I did manage to complete NaNoWriMo last year so I can't be too far off the mark. As scary as numbers are, I remember the last day at around 10:40pm, how desperate I had been to reach my word count (being at about 48,900ish had been terrifying). This is honestly less of an attempt to brag and more of a self-serving reminder that I can meet deadlines, even when I'm close to failing. Any writer can if they put their mind to it. That's part of what will be going into my new game plan: finding that spark that glued me to my chair and sent my fingers flailing across the keyboard.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the first step is admitting the problem. Now I'll actually have to apply myself to working through it. That's always been the part I've found most frustrating. I'm sure many either agree with me or are rolling their eyes listening to me complain, but here's why I've always been stuck in a rut when it comes to escaping those digging claws of writer's block.

I've always had a bit of an ego when it comes to building the structure of my work routine. I think myself so clever when I add a routine that actually works, only to be shocked later when it suddenly crumbles because, one day, my brain just feels it doesn't want to write. The artist's brain decides it wants to stop creating lush worlds full of man-eating monsters and would rather spend hours googling pictures of fennec foxes.

Yeah, cute, but eyes down below.

Thankfully, a friend and fellow writer has come to the rescue to explain a much simpler way of generating word counts that would bypass my distractible urge to panic. Incredible, I know.

As a writer, we must write every day. It helps however, to harness consistency as you go. I always tried to go big with my word counts in the past by doing 3500 a day. When I revealed this to my writing confidants, they were impressed...but not surprised I would run out of steam as quickly as I did.

"You need to start smaller," said one of my faithful confidants," I'm doing 850 words a day on a single project. I'll pass that up if I'm feeling up to it. Other times I'll be a bit under. The point is, 850 minimum [and or maximum] being the goal will result in your word count piling up in the long run. You'll do it without exhausting yourself."

Excellent advice and much less terrifying. So that will be my new game plan, generating a word count of say, 850 words daily. I'll go over if I can or I'll get as close as my exhausted brain can manage. Since for me this will be a tad experimental, I'll not psych myself out with deadlines other than daily counts.

In addition, the recent bursts of writing I mentioned earlier have also been my go-to when completely blocked when writing. That go to is writing prompts. Free writing, no-rules-scribbling, whatever you want to call it. I've neglected the little tools I've invested in, so its time to put them to use while I worm my way out of this rut.

These tools you'll see below:

If you've never seen these fun little products before, here are the links listed below for your convenience:

So, in the spirit of getting out of my rut, I will turn to my neglected emergency kit and pat myself on the back for surpassing day one of my daily goal of 850 words as I will be concluding this post with exactly 891 words. Until next time my lovely readers.

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