Progress Report: February 2005


Number of Days I Meant to Write 500 words: 20
Number of Days I Actually Wrote 500 words: 12.5
Excuses & Days per Excuse: Move-In To New Office Days (2); Trip to Maui (4); Prep for Trip to Maui (1); "Thinking" (1); No Time (.5)

Writing Goals: 1 draft short story, 1 draft novel chapter
Actual Progress: About 20 single spaced pages of story that is slowly, slowly, achingly slowly and in many ways circular-ly, taking shape. More notes and ideas for novel, plus a little outline re-structuring, but no actual chapter-work undertaken.

Conclusions: Got better at carving out my 4 hours of sacred writing time as the month progressed. However, I tended to let my home life intrude even when I was at the office and wasted precious hours. New plan of attack has been instituted as of this weekend, and will be adhered to daily with timer in hand (no more messing around, time running short, aging accelerating, old friends out-publishing, etcetera etcetera):

Dithering and emailing: 30 minutes
500 Words attempt: 90 minutes
Dithering and emaling: 20 minutes
Finish 5oo Words* / Write/read for another project: 60 minutes
Read / Critique for friends: 30 minutes
Blog: 20 minutes
Back-up work, tidy office: 10 minutes

*if 500 words aren't reached by end of office time, somehow, somewhere, between laundry and dinner and endless housewifing, I must find time to complete them before day's end.

Did pretty well at all that today. Got 632 words in on story, so that was good, and read some diving essays I've wanted to read for novel, and started notes on a friend's novel mss which I finished reading last week (not as quickly as I'd hoped, but I am making an effort ;)).


A Plug for "Says You"

By far and away the best programming on radio. Last night I stumbled upon it again after it went missing in the twice-annual KCRW schedule shuffle ... and was thrilled they'd started playing a brand new game:

Library Of Congress Categories.

Such as:

Q: "Psychology, regression -- Islands in Wake of Shipwreck, Plane Crash -- violence -- boys"

A: Lord of the Flies.

Points are awarded depending how quickly you can guess the book from its LOC subjects -- in this case, if you guessed the title based on only "Psych., reg." you get 10 points, then 8 if you add "Islands," and so on.

I found this to be wonderfully, fabulously, divertingly Fun -- Fun in an Aristotlean Absolute sort of way.

At Least If I Were On A Treadmill I'd Be Burning Calories

I have written 600 words reworking yesterday's lost pages, which I think were probably better, but who the hell knows. I can't say I feel much like going further forward, considering the trauma. Will read pages of a friend's mss and see how I feel after that.

At least I'm sort of caught up, though the sense of running in place is nauseating in the extreme.


Dammit. Just as I was saying to Writer Friend that I thought I might be getting somewhere:

This morning I opened up the story I'm working onto discover NONE OF THE WORK I DID YESTERDAY was saved. Now, I know for a fact I saved it three times at the end of the day yesterday. AARGH. But stupid 'puter has seen fit to spirit it all away. I was finally feeling like I was getting somewhere with this story and BOOM! Gone. Lots of good good stuff that I worry I can not duplicate and which has me wanting desperately to throw in the fucking towel today. But I know I have to write my 500 words if my story and/or career and/or sense-of-self are ever going to get anywhere, so I'm stuck here attempting to pick up where this fucking Dell dinosaur has decided I should. DAMN IT. I was looking forward to actually MOVING FORWARD today and now I have to spend precious time back-tracking.

Fittingly, this story is titled "Endurance," and writing it has been an excruciating act of same.

New end-of-day rules for now on:
--Print new work
--upload to webmail folder
--save to hard drive
--Fridays: save to USB


Okay, enough screaming. Time to get back to work.


Losing the Thread -- Writer Seeks Seams!

Daily word count becomes ever more difficult in face of impending Maui-trip (tomorrow!) and only half-set up office. Plus pressure to produce new story by 2/15 or so for Group on 2/20 makes me feel completely panicked that I've forgotten how to knit a story together. I have characters, ideas, ending, but I worry that I lack plot, so rather than write and write and write my way through it until plot emerged (the only solution, of course) I spent the day obsessively checking my email and arranging office items to satisfy requirements of feng-shui. I now have manifestation boards in my career, love, helpful people, and creativity centers. Desk arrangements reflect same. How LA-lame is that?

However, in the last draft of this entry, which I somehow managed to erase, I decided to stop trying to write/avoid the story and attack it in smaller pieces -- to wit:

WRITE ABOUT WILL'S ROUTINE (b/c falling in love with Mei Feng needs to disrupt it, and I can't exactly have her disrupt a routine I haven't figured out, can I?)

Also, I realized in a far more eloquent way than I'm about to re-express (damn stupid fucking wireless "connection") that it's not because of Benji that Will decides to give up Mei -- it's not Benji who is so desperate for routine, but Will, it turns out -- he's the one who is scared of what the future holds, he's the one who worries that big changes augur big ills. Benji's just his excuse.

I will stitch this together if it kills me, and fast, dammit!

Must re-post this right away before connexion craps out again.

Then may abandon office and go home and start packing, and try to come up with 500 words on Will's routine at home tonight.

Bon voyage to me!