Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lesson Learned from Lofty Goals

Well, I finished the 30 day challenge and here's what I learned:
- Kids become cranky and much more difficult to deal with if you ignore them for 30 days (who would have thought?)
- Husbands become cranky and much more difficult to deal with if you ignore them for 30 days (I sort of anticipated this one...)
- Toilets grow an odd kind of pinkish/black ring inside them when they aren't cleaned on a regular basis.
- Frozen dinners are actually quite disgusting

Conclusion:  writing a novel in 30 days may be possible, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

Okay, being serious now, I really did learn a lot - most of which I'll be discussing in the rest of the "Write Your Novel in 30 Days" series, but a bit of it is worth mentioning now.  
  • Surprise, surprise, but everyone who tells you to write everyday was right.  I was amazed by how much more quickly I was able to get into my writing voice at the end of the challenge as opposed to the beginning. 
  • I really do have time to write... actually a LOT of time that had just been going to waste before.  Now that I've seen how much of it I truly have, I'm hoping I'll do a much better job of prioritizing it.
  • The internet is NOT your friend!  Each time I got the slightest bit stalled or stuck in my writing I would automatically get online to check twitter or my facebook page, which would have been fine if I had just quickly browsed around.  Instead I would read articles or start chatting and BAM!  20 minutes of productive writing time sloshed and gurgled as they spun down the internet drain.  Turn off your internet connection while you write!
  • Leaving someone else in charge of my kids was the number one way to ensure that I spent my time wisely.  Why?  Accountability.  If my friend took my kids for a couple of hours to give me some writing time I certainly don't want to report to her that I just spent the last two hours watching a great movie or chatting with a friend.  I want her to know her sacrifice was of use to me.  The same principle applied with my husband.  Whenever I went to the library and left him alone with the kids I found I was much more focused and productive because I knew I had to report back to him on my progress.  It was important that he know his efforts were very helpful to me.  Obviously doing this challenge so publicly has given me a sense of accountability, but hour-by-hour accountability is even better.
Since you are likely quite curious to know if I did indeed finish my book, I must confess I did not.  Sad, I know, but I did get halfway done which is more progress than I've ever made.  I'd call that a success. 

Do I believe that someone could finish a book in 30 days?  You bet!  For myself, I'd prefer to spread it out a bit more.  Not too much more, because I really enjoyed the sustained focus on my project, but enough that I wouldn't have to battle burnout.  (Those last few days were killers!  I had to drag each word from my brain in slow, painful succession... not really a great way to feel when working on a beloved story).  I believe that if I could commit to writing 1,000 words a day I could have my book done in 70 days and without requiring too much sacrifice from my family at all!  

What are your daily writing goals and how long do you think it would take you to write a first draft?

1 comment:

  1. I especially loved the last one about being accountable! Very, very true. Thank you for sharing this!