Ramblings with a Point

There are few things (non-child related) that I enjoy more than a quiet house, a cup of coffee and an overall sense of motivation. It’s post holidays, the girls are at school and Sadie, our new-ish long haired gray kitten is keeping me company while heat blasts against my feet and legs from the box heater in our kitchen.

The smell of coffee is strong, mingling with the peppermint mocha creamer I absolutely love. Our bottle baby goats – Winter and Buffy – are snuggled together in their kennel with filled tummies. Dukke, our Chesapeake lab, is stretched out across the couch and there is an overall sense of peace despite the chaos of an untidy house.

And I have an open laptop, my bullet journals and time to myself.

There is little more that a mother can ask for.

Especially a mother with the goal of writing a novel.

Let’s be realistic – trying to get much done in regards to writing with littles wanting your attention and not realizing how quickly the word “mom” can be overused is a very difficult thing. Usually, I wait until they’re in bed for the night and settle in to get writing done.

Now, I’m not extremely old by any means. There are plenty who would roll their eyes at me saying “I’m so old” but I am old enough that the ability to pull long nights isn’t really working in my favor anymore. There’s always something else to do when the kids are in bed – laundry, dishes, putting supper away. Those things tend to take precedence over any time I reserve for myself.

And when I get a chance to enjoy that time reserved for myself, the urge to clock out and watch mindless television is so strong that I tend to give into it.

I’ve worked hard to avoid this in 2018. I made it three days before I decided that as great as it was that I was forcing myself to get a minimum of 500 words in for the day, giving myself a break and enjoying one night of turning in earlier than normal or checking out to watch some television once or twice a week was perfectly acceptable.

I believe that would be considered self-care.

And it’s a good chance to recharge.

Three nights of digging deep for inspiration, three nights of forcing creativity through exhaustion – it takes quite a bit out of a person.

I’m not sure how other writers operate. I know how I do and if there are people who are handling their goal the same way I am – giving up sleep for late nights of tapping away at a keyboard (and lets me honest…a lot of that typing is hitting the backspace key), dragging up as much inspiration from a well that may have been drained nearly dry throughout the course of the day…I think it’s important that we realize that it’s okay to give ourselves a break.

It’s okay to push that word count goal to the next day. It’s okay to say “I’m not going to try to be creative right now.” It’s self-care.

Sure, it’s not a spa day or an hour long soak in a tub with a face mask…but it counts.
And keeping the goal simple seems to be the key for me. Write a novel in a year. Nothing more, nothing less – get it done in a year.

I’ve set small goals within the month too, knowing that the goals I set for myself – 500 words a day, three chapter outline, character list – those were all reasonable.

When the goals get too exorbitant and are more stress provoking, there’s no way that goal is going to get achieved.

NaNo has never worked for me. I’ve tried for four years and it always goes the same way – hit the word count the first day, close to the word count the second day, not even halfway the third and by then, I’m so far behind on the wordcount that the anxiety kicks in and I shut down entirely.

Screw the book, I don’t need to feel like this!
Small goals…they’re okay too. They’re working towards what you want to achieve and there is nothing wrong with 500 words a day. It’s better than nothing.

Sounds like I’m trying to convince myself, doesn’t it?

I am and I’m not. I hope that if young readers get a hold of this blog and read over my insane ramblings that are generally all over the place regarding writing, they’ll feel better about attempting a novel themselves and setting goals that work for them instead of falling into a 30 day challenge or chastising themselves because another writer they know can hammer out 2k a day.

And it’s okay not to have your stuff together. If you made it through this post, it’s pretty clear that I don’t. Brain dump blogging style. 😀

And the take away?

Realistic goals, self-care…and no writer is 100% sane. Ever. That’s what makes us good at what we do.

Peace readers.

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