I've been looking forward to this course for some time now. I know from listening to the podcast that Allison considers herself the kind of writer best motivated by deadlines, as I feel I am also, so I thought if anyone could set me up with the kind of triggers I need, she'd be the girl to do just that. Allison, however, sounds like a fast writer. I am not.
So I hit the LAUNCH button on December 11.
What, are you nuts!? my procrastinating Inner-Resistor screamed at the top of her shrieky whiny voice. It's Christmas, school holidays, etc.
But no time is ever a good time for me. I know this, and this is, of course, the point. What the hell, I thought. Christmas can eat me! Humbug humbug.
And on Day 3, specifically, something happened which I'd like to tell you about. On Day 3, the wheels all but fell off. Day 3! How pathetic is that? But they didn't, and I really need to tell you guys-Allison especially-why and how they did not.
I have two sons, aged 13 and 15. My younger son has very severe autism and is not a sleeper. He's pretty much been awake for the past 11 years. Anyway, Rupert did not sleep on the night of Day 2 so, on Day 3, I was wiped. My other son (who has Aspergers) woke up with an ear infection - so we were off to the GP's. On the way home from my son's doctor's appointment, my 85-year-old mother (for whom I also have primary care) called to say she felt ill, couldn't stop coughing, and needed to visit her doctor. She lives across town. We took care of grandma, took her to the doctor, filled her medications, took her home, sorted her out. My mother is a handful at the best of times but when she is ill she's Godzilla; possibly even one of Godzilla's less appealing relatives. Anyway, then the pharmacy called to say they couldn't compound my son's medication for some obscure pharmacological reason (my son can't swallow tablets) so we were off on a pharmacy-crawl. Most people do pub-crawls but we lurch from one thrilling compounding suburban chemist to another. It's how we roll.
We finally get home at 3pm and my eyeballs are moving independently of one another. Day 3 may only be asking me for 250 words, but I was beat, and in surrender mode.
Now, without the day-by-day expectation and word count, I absolutely, without the shadow of a doubt, would have just cooked the bath and cleaned the dinner. But I AM, as stated earlier, a girl who responds to deadlines and always does what's expected of her. That disease-to-please is rarely a good thing but, in this case, I think it helped. I was, however, already in front of the cumulative word count, so I figured, it's no big deal if I can get any words done today. I'll pick it up again on Day 4.
No, Layne! Stop! I told myself, drowning out the Inner-Resistor. This course is all about establishing a writing routine. Turning up even when it's hard and your sucky life is doing all it can to interfere with your writing mojo. This is the whole point of the course, why I signed up for it and the very reason why I chose to embark on a 30-day writing bootcamp in the midst of Christmas mayhem. If I can prove to myself that I can turn out 10,000 words with all that going on, then I'll know I can turn out 10,000 words in any given month-long period.
So I set the boys to doing stuff-viz watching YouTube and PS4, and I gave myself two hours.
But I didn't write 250 words. I wrote 2100 words. In just over two hours.
Me, the slow writer.
I don't honestly know why it all just clicked that day, given the circumstances and the no sleep and the driving all over town and the infected ears and grisly old ladies and and and and ...
But it did. And I honestly felt elated. Like I'd won an award or something. I was on a kind of high. I was happy with what I'd written, and I was amazed, nay stunned, that I'd turned out so many coherent words given how rotten and tired I was feeling.
The daily word count was the difference. Having that hanging over my head forced me to just suck it all up and bloody well get on with it. Under my normal, abnormal circumstances on what was Day 3, I definitely wouldn't have attempted to create anything new. But knowing I had a deadline, a commitment to churn out a certain number of words, was the deal-breaker. So I did it, in spades!
And again I don't know why but everything has just freed up since that day. I've already added more than 10,000 words to my manuscript, and it's only the end of Day 11. Perhaps it is because the course showed me that, yes Layne, you can make the time to work on your book, to work on something that is just for me. My story IS coming together. If I can sustain this momentum, I will have produced around 30,000 words by the end of this bootcamp. That is so very exciting.
I just wanted to share my success with you because it is Christmas after all and this has really meant a lot to me. (I wonder if you are able to forward this note to Allison? I would really like her to know how much I appreciate her hard work in putting this course together.) The format is ideal for deadline-responders like me. I don't know how your novel-writing course proceeds, and I can't afford to enrol in it right now, so I intend to just keep rolling this course over and over, and follow it month after month. It is ideal - not so much pressure that it feels overwhelming, but also plenty of motivation to exceed the daily outputs. The motivational quotes are also spot on - pertinent to each day's goal. What matters for me right now is getting those words - my first draft - done, and Allison's course is helping me to do that more than anything else ever has.
Many many thanks to Allison, Valerie and everyone at the AWC for offering this wonderfully motivating program.
And thanks to the Writer's Centre for providing so many forms of encouragement to writers. I've just finished the 30-day Bootcamp with newfound enthusiasm and good writing habits, and have been enjoying the newsletters.
I wanted to write and thank you for the course Make Time to Write. I have recently completed the 30 day boot camp and can happily report that I have written 14,482 words!! All while dealing with Christmas, two family birthdays, New Year's festivities and a beach holiday!
Like countless others, I have toyed with the idea of being a writer but up until now have not felt worthy. I have never written 14,000 consistently before and now quietly remind myself that I am a writer because I am writing.
So, thank you for introducing me to Scrivener, Anne Lamott and Natalie Goldberg. Thank you for dispelling the myths of inspiration, perfect places and times to write. Thank you for providing practical and achievable tips to get my words down. And thank you for encouraging me to release my authentic voice. My laptop now accompanies me everywhere and I have even managed to overcome my writing shyness by writing 800 words at an Indoor Skate Park.
I now have a writing routine - 500 words 5 days a week written mainly from 8.30pm onwards - with time in the day to sit with my story. I sit with my diary each Sunday and allocate some pockets of time within the week. My book idea feels like it could actually be realised. At the very least, I now know I can write and will continue to do so.
Thank you for kick starting my creative 2017!