Plain White Ts, One Direction, and the Story of My Life

Come on. Is there some connection here that I don’t recognize? Because Story of My Life reminds me of a Plain White Ts song so strongly that it actually took me a week to realize the song wasn’t being sung by Plain White Ts—you know, at about the time I bought the mp3 from Amazon.

On another note, I’m not writing. Who the hell knows why. I’m totally in a shitty writing place right now and I don’t know why and even though I’ve spent the last 6 days doing nothing much but reading fiction, I still don’t feel better.

And that’s the story of my life…

Confession. A lot of writers talk about how they’re driven to write. Well, I’m driven to read. I write because I want to and I like it, but I’m not driven. If I could get paid to just sit and read everybody else’s stories, I’d probably write a short story or two a year and that’d be it.

Even writing fan fiction was hard for me. I liked doing it, and I was motivated by my interactions with my friends, but I didn’t feel driven to write those stories. I mean, I don’t think I did. My last big fan fic was for Grimm. I don’t have any Grimm fandom friends, but I only started with a very short piece but because of comments I wrote more, and then more, and more again. As long as the comments kept coming, I’d have probably kept writing, but I turned on to self-publishing just about the time I got most of the way done with my last Grimm fic and I moved on to writing original fiction again.

I wish I was driven. If that were the case, I’d probably be a lot less like I am now: constantly searching for the one true way, the one best system, the ultimate schedule that would make reaching my writing goals effortless. But maybe that’s my problem, having this idea that anything can be effortless. Is it all a myth? A dream? A falsehood propagated by self-help gurus and feel-good enthusiasts?

Sometimes writing does feel effortless. I guess it’s silly of me to think that effortlessness should be the way it feels most of the time. Instead, that feeling of effortlessness is something I’m always striving to attain (and it’s a damn lot of effort I put into that too!) but hardly ever reaching.

I often wonder if the writers who claim to be driven to write or die really are that obsessed or if it’s some kind of self-delusional mind game they play with themselves, or if they just don’t have enough other interests to hold their attention, or if they’re control freaks who love to read but can’t let go of the idea of how a particular story should go.

I’ve heard many times of the writers who started out because they preferred to write their own endings to stories they’d read. Never happened to me. I just started from scratch and wrote my own stuff. I didn’t start writing fan fiction until I’d been writing for nearly 10 years. Even when I first heard of it, I thought it was silly. And then I did it and discovered there was definitely fun to be had playing with characters and situations that had already been set up, and the what-if became my favorite pastime.

It’s a conundrum. Really.

Some days, I really hate writing.

Which is funny, because I really love writing.

And that’s the real story of my life.

OMW: Day 73

I need 3,272 words today. This is the day. The day. I’m going to break through that minimum, even if I have to work on 6 different stories to get there. In fact, I want today to be a 5,000 word day. Or 6,000. I don’t remember ever doing a 6,000 word day so that’d be great to break though that barrier.

So, late start. Kind of deliberate, although that wasn’t the plan when I got up. But I’m setting myself up to write as much as I can today and I don’t think I could’ve started at 7. I feel much peppier now though and I’m ready to go.

I’m starting the morning 352 words in the hole because of my short story. I haven’t actually deleted the words yet though because seeing them on the page will keep me from making the same mistakes (I hope!) and my music’s going. :D (Update: I didn’t have to delete those words after all! Yay!)

First goal? Finish the short story!

11:45 am: DONE! At over 3,000 words longer than planned, my short story is finished. :D Whew!

I’m at 576 words for the day.

Second goal? Finish the novella!

8:57 pm: I’m not done. The additions/fixes to the novella are coming along nicely, and I’m still writing, but I don’t know for how much longer. I had a lot more downtime than I planned when I set out my goals for the day.

I’m at 1,003 words. Way, way short of my goal today. Contemplating a major deletion so I can keep this new development tight in the story. I think it would work better, but I’m going to have to read through what I’ve got, so … good excuse to end here for some reading. :)

OMW: Day 72

Today’s going to be a great day—after my nap. :D

I need 3,261 words today.

7–9: 0*
12–4: 0**
8–9: 0***

I want to put the finishing touches on my short story and work in a great fix for my novella that I think will solve all my problems with that book, and then, maybe even get some of my 2014 novel #1 written today! Lots to do later.

And … later got later and later while I regretted not getting enough sleep last night, again. I’m tired and I just want to go to sleep and start over tomorrow.

But I’m not going to do that because I already know I’m not going to be a better person tomorrow, and I want to at least keep my 7 day streak alive and that means getting some words written today … and I got a few written and now I’m done. ;) Streak’s alive, but honestly, it’s kind of a joke. 40 words. And a note to myself to delete my last 352, so I’m going to start out in a major hole tomorrow morning. Yay! Something to look forward to.****

*Skipped so I could get some dental work done this morn, and now, it’s time for a nap so I can start fresh and energetic at 12.

**Well, that’s embarrassing.

***Ouch.

****Sarcasm abounds. Sorry. :)

OMW: Day 71

I need 3,254 words today. Still going up and I’ve got to get this under control ASAP.

7–9: 445
12–4: 775
8–910:30: 1,151

I didn’t get all my time in, because I stopped around 8:29 to research something and, uh, yeah. Time gets away. :D

Between 12–4 I really couldn’t concentrate and I had a lot of trouble staying focused. It felt very much like muscle fatigue! So, gotta work on those concentration skills—might be time to pull the timer out again just to keep me focused. :D I think I’ll do that for my 8–9 tonight.

OMW: Day 70

I need 3,245 words today.

I’m going to be quick, because I skipped my 7–9 block this morning. I felt guilty for about 5 minutes and then I didn’t. I wanted to read a book today, so I did. I have a lovely job!

Anyway, no time to linger. I’m about 17 minutes late and I want to use as much of my 12–4 block today to finish my short story! I’m sure I can get it done today, and I had a bit of a breakthrough last night on how to fix my novella—and it’ll require nothing but a sentence or two earlier in the book to set things moving in the right direction and then the rest of the scenes I need to get to the end. ;)

2:11 pm: I’m at 406.

Uh, yeah. I need a nap.

So, I don’t think I got enough sleep last night. 6 hours just doesn’t do it for me, and I didn’t nap. I’m taking a break and I’m going to come back a bit early instead of at 8 pm and try to get in another 2–3 hours before I call it quits today.

Or read another book. :D

Nah, just kidding! I need to finish my short story and I’m so close…

OMW: Day 69

I need 3,237 words today.

Plus some. Because I need to stop the upward creep of my goal and knock it down a bit too.

Extra goal today? Try to maintain at least 500 wph today.

Schedule is off because yeah, I’m just eating breakfast now, so no 7–9 session. However, I don’t really want a break already so I think I’ll just try writing from 9:30–11:30, then break, then try to get back on the schedule at 12.

And I discovered something promising this morning. I woke at daybreak, which is about half an hour or so earlier than sunrise. If I can just get up at daybreak, I’ll be a little behind (but not for long because spring’s on the way and daybreak is coming earlier and earlier every day), but maybe this won’t be as hard for the next few weeks as I was imagining. I just need to get in bed earlier so I don’t want to fall back asleep like I did this morning. :D

11:56 pm: I’m at 181.

I know! But the story is going well, I promise, and I’ve been working. :D This probably comes back to the issue I have where when I finish a story I have to actually be done with it. So as I get closer to the end, I start going back and fixing anything that needs fixing as the end ties things together. A lot of Oh, wouldn’t it be great if I had set this up better… or Shouldn’t I delete that reference because it contradicts this… stuff that I then go back and set up properly or delete. :D I really don’t mind. I do wish I was faster but I really enjoy this so I’m just grateful I’m having fun. I’m so close to finishing this one. It’s so exciting! Now, time to get back to work, it’s 12 pm already!

10:13 pm: I’m at 1,005.

I almost quit at 907 but I thought I’d like to at least finish over 1000 so I could start a streak or something so I pushed on through. I’m glad I did. But now I’ve got to go to sleep so I can wake up bright and early and get back to it. I didn’t have the opportunity today to use any of my free time for writing but I did get my evening hour in, getting a little more than 400 words written during that time! I missed an update somewhere in here but I was just under 600 words when I started my evening hour at about 9 (a little late).

OMW: Day 68

I need 3,233 words today.

Still creeping up! I’ve got to start meeting or exceeding this goal—and soon.

9:59 am: I’m at 208.

Could definitely be better, but it’s going to wait until after a nap. I need one, then an early lunch, before I settle in. I need a lot of words today. :D

Sunrise was 7 am this morning, after being at about 6 am yesterday. As you can imagine, even though I went to bed early last night, I barely dragged out of bed at 7:40 am Daylight Saving Time. Ugh.

If it were yesterday, I’d have gotten started 26 minutes late. But since it’s today, I got started 1 hour and 26 minutes late. Sigh.

Good news is that I’m not really planning to stick to the schedule today anyway mostly because I want to get as much writing done as I can. I’m really enjoying this short story and I’m having so much fun that I woke up thinking about my story every time I cracked my eyes open. Those days had disappeared over the last few months and I’m so glad to see them back!

1:25 pm: I’m at 765.

I’m also coming up on the last 1,300 words of my short story and I definitely think I’ll make it to the end today. :D I really like it!

5:08 pm: I’m at 1,181.

If I’m going to make it to 3,233 today, I’m going to have to write a lot faster for the rest of the night than I’ve done so far. I really should’ve skipped the B&J margarita thingy with lunch. Now I just want to go to sleep. Also, this is the dark side of going off-schedule. Too little pressure to get somewhere before the next break. On that note, I’m taking a break until 6 pm and then going to write diligently from 6–9.

9:07 pm: I’m at 1,633.

I’m not all that thrilled about that, although I admit I got started about an hour late partially because of some unexpected interruptions. The other part of partially was entirely my own fault. And I actually stopped at 8:34 for a quick break and to update this post and discovered all my websites were down. Got a message off to support  and got distracted (entirely my own fault again) and then it was 9 pm. Gah.

I’m not fond of quitting when the writing’s still going, so I can’t decide if I should or shouldn’t call it a night…

I think I’ll give it until 9:30 but then it’s definitely over. I need to get to sleep on time tonight because I’d like to be on my schedule tomorrow. Although let’s be honest here, with the Daylight Saving time change still fresh, who knows what will happen in the morning. Until this morning, I’d been waking up without an alarm. I don’t see that happening tomorrow.

10:25 pm: I’m at 1,872.

Yeah. So I didn’t quit when I was supposed to. And I really can’t believe it took me that long to get another 200ish words! What’s crazy is I know I was zoning on this because that hour went by in a blink and I loved every minute of it, but man, if this is my zone speed, I better not plan on being a prolific author unless I want to spend 16 hours a day at the computer.

But I’m calling it now. I’ve got to get to bed. I can tell you now, though, that the schedule is off for the morning 7–9 session. Ain’t no way I’m getting up before 7 am. :D

OMW: Day 67

I need 3,225 words today.

Which, wow, considering that I didn’t maIke my goal last night, isn’t too bad. But 2 separate events today mean I’m going to lose at least 6 hours of potential writing time so I’ve got to be diligent with my time today. Off I go to write!

9:23 am: I’m at 653.

All of those words are on my short story, which is up to 5,749 words. Next goal? 1,500 by 11. Then I gotta do other stuff for a while. :D So I better get cracking.

11:21 am: I’m at 785.

I really wanted to be further along before I had to stop. Ah well. Better than 0!

4:17 pm: Ha. 6 hours of missed writing time was too optimistic. 1 event out of the way and I’ve already lost my entire 12–4 block plus some. I have just about an hour and a half I can use as writing time before the next interruption. I’m off to make good use of my time!

9:29 pm: I’m at 834.

I spent too much time messing around with what I’d already written and barely managed any new words before I had to go. Now that I’m back … I’m giving up! Tired and falling asleep at the keyboard. Just not enough time after getting home from the second event of the day and I was tired before I went.

OMW: Day 66

I need 3,222 words today.

My daily writing quota is still creeping up because I keep failing to make my minimum each day. I’m hoping to get a handle on this soon. But I’ve had to admit my novella was definitely the problem with my lack of motivation to write. The switch to working on the short story yesterday showed me that, and I woke up fired up and ready to write again today. I’m definitely going to have to finish that novella soon but I needed this break!

I’m enjoying writing that short story and since my self-imposed deadline for it was 3/31, I don’t feel that bad going ahead on it while the writing’s going well.

Ah, and I’ve just realized I can’t call this Finish the Book—Day 7 because although I’ve been writing, I haven’t been writing on my novella.

1:24 pm: I’m at 1,126.

Next goal? 3,000 by 4 pm. Let’s see if I can make it. 1 … 2 … 3 … Go!

3:50 pm: I’m at 1,986.

So yeah, not quite 3,000. But I have to pause the writing until about 6 pm at which point I’ll pick it up again because I have time for extra writing time tonight!

Yikes! It’s way past 6 pm because I got caught up in catching up on a forum I participate on. I’ve still got a good hour and a half before I have to hit the sack to get up at 6:15 in the morning so let’s see what I can accomplish. :D

10:41 pm: I’m at 2,414.

Better than yesterday—not anywhere close to where I want to be. It’s a win! :D