2019 Novel-Writing Challenge, Week 2

Made it through Week Two and finished up the week at 12,268 words! I’m proud, especially since this week was full of distractions.

In addition to being absorbed in my work, I found life started doing all kinds of funny things. My heat was broken and the unit needed to be reinstalled over the course of two days. A fire on Cambridge Street derailed my commute. Two favorite TV shows returned from hiatus. The new meetup I’m helping to launch, Inclusive Tech Lab, hosted its kickoff event last night. My friends and I flew to Pittsburgh early this morning — a dear high school friend gets married tomorrow! — so I did all my packing on Wednesday night. I fretted about the potential impact of the government shutdown and the impending snowstorm on our travels. I ran around from place to place constantly, and my mind felt scattered in a million different directions.

But I still managed to squeeze in my 555+ words every single day. On days when I knew I would be especially busy, I planned out my time somewhat like this:

5:00 AM-6:00 AM – Get up/get ready
6:00 AM-7:00 AM: Write 555 words and let HVAC guys in
7:00 AM-8:00 AM: Run to get lunch Tupperware from work that I forgot yesterday
9:00 AM-12:00 PM: Work from home
12:00 PM PM-1:00 PM: Whole Foods – Get chips for Inclusive Tech Lab event; CVS – Get travel-size moisturizer; Home – Throw away any old food in fridge; Check in for flight; Book Uber for 7:15 AM Friday morning
1:00 PM-5:00 PM: Continue working from home
5:00 PM-5:30 PM: Leave to catch a ride at Alewife Station to the kickoff event for Inclusive Tech Lab
5:30 PM-8:30 PM: Inclusive Tech Lab event

It showed me that, no matter how chaotic my day may be, I can find the time.

A couple of developments since last week:

  • I’m starting to rely more on research to help me build my world and my characters. I’m constantly Googling, a skill I’ve honed in my career. As a software developer, I’ve learned how to identify the scope of my question and search for my answer with precise key words. With the help of both Amazon points (Thank you, Amazon Prime credit card…) and a gift certificate I received over the holidays, I also ordered two books relevant to my world, one of which I took with me when I flew out of Boston today.
  • Sometimes when my motivation is low — either because I’m distracted or exhausted or both — and I really feel like I just won’t be able to write my 555 words, I wind up surprising myself and accomplishing far more than I expected.
  • For a few days, I spent a lot of my time adding onto earlier scenes I’d already written or continuing to develop existing character interactions. After realizing that I was focusing more on exposition and less on driving the plot forward, I’m aiming to strike a balance.
  • It’s been helpful and revealing to keep quick logs on my process each day, often before and after I finish my 555 words.

I’m really enjoying this process! Stay tuned, and stay safe in the upcoming winter weather. My flight for Sunday was already canceled, so it looks like I’ll get to experience the snowpocalypse from the Steel City!

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