Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Set Backs

Current Project: Logger in Petticoats
Status: Not as far as I should be

This past summer has been one of my longest, since writing, spells when I haven't put words to paper on a regular basis. I'm hoping once I get caught up, I can manage to get back in a rhythm.

My schedule got skewed when my daughter and six Alaskan grandchildren arrived in July. They stayed at my house for three weeks with the addition of the two Oregon grandchildren. During that time I managed to keep up with my monthly blogs, and work on getting projects ready for self-publishing, and promotion. But I was still behind. I've been running around so much between judging county fairs, promotion/signings, and ranch work that I'm still feeling behind.

This is the last week for the two contests I inadvertently signed up for not realizing they would fall at the same time. So next week, I have my sights set on getting back into Logger in Petticoats and using NANO WRIMO to finish the book. My goal is to self-publish the book in January.

I've always been my most critical adversary when it comes to getting things done on time. So while I don't have a contract that says my book must be done by January, I have an inner contract with myself that says the book will be done by January. I nearly ate myself up because Spirit of the Sky took longer than I'd "allowed" myself.

When a setback appears on my horizon I mentally kick myself in gear and try to outrun the setback, but this summer, I just plain wore out. The more I kicked myself the more tired and less enthusiastic I became about the project. If I can get the list of "to do's" out of the way, and just focus on the book, I know I could get back on track with everything writing related.

The last of my Alaskan company, while they haven't been physically living in our house have been in and out for the last two months, will be headed back home in one and a half weeks, after that, look out Hank and Kelda, your story is going to fly from my fingers!

What kind of setbacks slow your writing progress? How do you cope with them?



chanceofbooks said...

I have absolute faith that you will find your way back to the words Paty. You are one of the most dedicated people I know, and you constantly inspire me :) Hank's story is ready for you. And repeat after me, "No new judging or volunteering till January!" ;)

As you know, I'm the reigning Queen of Writer's block. I think it's because I'm a perfectionist and I had this idea in my head that I needed a quiet house, a good morning start, and several hours. And when a busy day hit or I was too tired or stressed or work was on my to-do list, it was easy to skip a day. And then it became a lot like dieting--one missed day was easy to recover from, but a week off? There goes my momentum.

This summer though I seem to have discovered my personal secret weapons--deadlines, even self-imposed, but preferably with group accountability & opening the current WIP every darn day no matter what. Sunday was Tavy's birthday & I was sick & I didn't open the file. Monday was painful. I felt all the old excuses creeping back in. Got a scene outlined. Then yesterday I got 300 words written. In the past I'd see that as a total failure, but now, I just remind myself that's 300 words I wouldn't otherwise have. The only way for me to get 3000 word days is to suffer the 30 word days. Now with the fall term starting, I know there's going to be a lot of low word count days. But still I'm going to open the file, every single day. Because at the end of the term, even if I just have X number of words, that's still more than I would have had if I waited for the perfect moment.

That said, there are simply times that writing just isn't going to happen--having a newborn, having EIGHT grandkids in the house, having a major illness. And I think you have to just forgive yourself and work to get that momentum back. Easier said than done, especially for us perfectionists, but I think the forgiveness is key to regrabbing the mojo. I'll do NaNoWriMo with you. Not planning on 50K (part of my new momentum is being realistic), but planning to write every single day and finish my 2nd GH submission.

chanceofbooks said...

OMG. I wrote a book of a reply. Sorry. Can you tell this is a subject I'm passionate about? :)

Paty Jager said...

Bethany, I know what you mean. After October I'm not volunteering for anything until this book is done.

I'm so happy you have learned the key to writing success-writing! No matter how little every word counts.

I won't be officially doing NaNo but we can keep each other company plugging away, EVERY DAY.

And I don't mind a long reply when it makes sense and yours always do. Thanks!

Alexander said...

Interesting post!! I really like this site, and hope you will write more.

Genene Valleau said...

Ah, Paty, you do so much. I agree with Bethany--once you clear out everything else and write, Hank's book will blossom quickly.

A lot of my "setbacks" are also family-related, but where would be the joy in life without our loved ones? So I've developed more flexibility and more patience with myself that deadlines can be stretched to accommodate unexpected surprises.

I'm also learning to pass up other time commitments, knowing that will cut into writing time. I take a look at my current commitments and am still learning to better judge how long those commitments will take--adding in some extra time for unplanned complications.

Kudos to you and Bethany for planning a productive NaNoWriMo--formally or casually!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Alexander.

Genene, I agree family comes first but it's hard to put writing to the back burner. I need a "no" button.

Sarah Raplee said...


My summer was similar to yours, so I can relate! It's hard to get that flow going again!