Even though I didn’t participate in #NaNoWriMo, I can relate to having a plan to write X number of words within a certain time. I’ve always been goal oriented. What I had to learn along the way, especially as a former manager of direct reports, is that I can’t let a missed goal become more of a distraction. That thinking has, in the past, caused me to delay any additional positive movement to attain the goals set after the missed goal. The chain reaction would spin me farther down the negative black hole. I’ve had this struggle the last few months due to health reasons but even before that I would miss goals. Either way, I’m still frustrated that my first draft sat around this long with the word count needle nearly stuck in the same position.

When that feeling of hopelessness creeps into our brains (and many of us writers hit this wall now and again), we need to hit the brakes before we head face first into the palms of our hands and give up hope!

During the last 24 hours, many of my writing friends have been bummed with missing their goal (especially some who aimed to complete the #NaNoWriMo challenge). What we as writers must realize is that even if we missed the goal, we should celebrate any accomplishment. Don’t celebrate to the point that we make excuses though but rather think about how many more words we have because of having the goal in the first place! No matter how small that word count is, it is more than what you would have otherwise. What was the starting word count? Zero. Now what do you have? More than zero I hope. If not, there must be a reason to explore. (For me, October was a near zero because I got that pesky blood clot/ DVT in my left leg.)

Lately, I’ve been diving back into writing my first draft. For example, I had a goal of 1Kaday over Thanksgiving and I got a whopping 2245 words written (sarcasm may not be clear here but it's there). It’s frustrating, but I let the fun of the holiday distract me. I have kids and they are getting older. Whatever the reason, I am accountable for that goal being missed.

I’ve learned that I wish I had a higher number to celebrate. At least I have more than what I had though.

The number one rule is to remember this feeling of guilt and learn from it. If we want to be a writer, we must write. Therefore, I am accountable to my individual goal of being just that – a writer. If I continue down the path and delude myself then I will have to be accountable either way. On the flipside, if I learn from this I can set perhaps a more realistic goal over the time I take off in December. 

I am accountable to take action to meet the goal of finishing the first draft. Step by step, word for word. It is all up to me. Given the last few months, I had to move out the timeframe a bit. I refuse to let one missed goal stop me from what the final goal is – my first finished draft.
  • Remember, don’t let one missed goal derail you from the overall goal.
  • Learn from missed goals.
  • Revisit your goal planning to plan realistic, attainable goals. 
  • Celebrate the goals along the way.
  • Keep writing with the long-term, high-level goal in mind. Every milestone counts.
  • You are accountable to yourself as a writer (first draft, revised manuscript, or whatever the end goal may be).
 
Before I dive in, thank you to everyone for your comments! Being new to this blog/comment process has been a learning experience the last week. Please know I appreciate your time to make a comment on my blog and am looking into replying to you! I spent the last few minutes finding the comments and will get back to each of you personally! (Ah the lessons we learn as we stumble along the way… sigh!)

Last Tuesday, I posted my first blog in quite a long time writing about my experience with a very challenging pregnancy and how I had to put my writer dream on hold during that time. I'll explain how all of this ties into writing.

A week later, I’m still on the journey but just one week further along. During this time, I’ve reflected on how far I’ve come and I’m celebrating. Why? I’ve made it another week and I’ve posted two blogs and met some amazing people on Twitter. 

24.4 represents the number of weeks and days I’m along in my pregnancy. Each day counts. Looking back on the last 24 weeks, I’ve made through every struggle with the goal of still being able to live and follow my dream of being a writer.  It’s not a marathon sticker number I can put on the back of my car but I’m just as proud. 

There have been three phases to the pregnancy that made my word count take a nose dive.

Phase 1
During the early weeks I had horrible morning sickness and I didn’t care about writing. 

Phase 2
Next, I had walking bacterial pneumonia since my immune system was down and again, I didn’t care about writing. (Weeks are going by and no writing!)

I hit a few weeks when I felt better and started writing. Finally! It took a few hours…okay a day or two to be honest…of trying to figure out where to start again or where I left off the last time. 

Last Tuesday, I mentioned that I had a third final blow and I'll attest that it nearly took me out of writing and shut off the dream. 

Phase 3
The day was October 6th and started like every day. Ache here, hungry, getting restless about what to get done for the day. I ran errands, felt great, even dressed up (that means a nice top and jeans for me, not velour or PJs) and just felt great. Suddenly that night around 9 PM my left leg started swelling. By 11 it was 3 times the size of my right leg. My husband took me to the emergency room.  After an ultrasound test came back negative for any blood clots, the nurse told me I had probably overdone it and need to take it easier. 

The next day I was miserable but made it to my prenatal appointment in the morning. My doctor told me he was surprised that I didn’t have a clot because I definitely had the symptoms. My leg, still swollen, hurt and I couldn’t put a lot of pressure on it. My OB told me that if it got worse “at all” to go to the ER because even if a clot wasn’t found that one could be there, perhaps so small not caught. (That was great advice by the way.) 

I went home and googled about blood clots. Do this if your gut ever tells you something is wrong. It was scary to learn read about blood clots but I believe this knowledge saved my life.

Let's skip by some time of me going to the Pumpkin Patch and sitting on a bench the whole time or just me sitting around on Saturday. By Saturday around 7:00 PM I was freaking out because my leg swelled more and turned a reddish purple color. Trust me, I WAS freaking out. I cried thinking that I was going to lose my baby, leg or life. My husband took me to the Emergency Room. The same nurse was there from the other night and her first question was to my husband, “Did she overdo it again?”  Before he could respond, I firmly said, “No, and there is definitely something wrong. It’s only my left leg which is a major symptom of a blood clot.” She didn’t know this, but I had on my iphone ready via Safari the list of symptoms. Yes, I had every single symptom of what is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or simply – a blood clot in a major vein. 

This time around though, a different ultrasound technician found the clot and the Emergency Room doctor said she was happy I came in again. I was immediately admitted into the hospital and put on herapin, a blood thinner. For two nights, I did a lot of thinking. 

What does this have to do with writing? Everything. I had the chance to nothing but think for two days and nights about what I wanted to live for: dreams, hopes, fears, life, kids, husband and that novel I wanted to write. The baby inside me had so much to live for as well. It was a time to dig deep on what I felt that was spiritual and supernatural. I won’t deny it. I didn’t get to death’s door but I got a bit too close to ignore it.

The sudden surge of emotions centered on the fact that I was blessed with a great job and I loved what I did. However, I also wanted to continue writing my book and let my characters come to life. 

Let me add one more phase representing when I turned a corner.


Phase 4 
I would be okay. I would write.

This isn’t over by any means. Every day I am taking two shots of blood thinners and making my rounds to visit various doctors. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the high risk doctor again. It’s scary. Again, I won’t deny it. Writing this blog has helped me feel a sense of purpose and more confidence about following my dream of writing. It's a welcome distraction. Eventually I’ll create a more seamless “My Story” about what has happened but I can’t help but share my thoughts as they occurred during such a tough time. It’s my hope that I help someone who may be going through a tough time in their writing and feel hope. Without hope, I always feel I have nothing. With writing, I feel that inner hope come alive – just like my protagonist. She’s been sitting in the chair waiting patiently for quite some time. Funny though, I swear I hear her tapping her foot waiting on me to get back to her. I better get going!

Until next time…please dream as if your life depends on it. 
 
Yesterday was one of those days when I sat there in front of a blinking cursor and heard my friend's voice, "You're thinking too much." Diane, a beta reader, told me that a few months ago when I was rambling about how I need to cut out this and redo that in my WIP. She was on to something. I cut but didn't cut as much as planned. After all was said and done, I felt great about what I had cut from the WIP and posted that as a status on my facebook page. Since then, I've heard her voice loud and clear ring through my head causing me a healthy pause at the perfect moments. 
What exactly was I doing? For starters, I was thinking how I could make these two chapters spin differently. My protagonist sometimes tends to follow easily and then there are days she fights back. While attempting to write yesterday, I found I wanted to "force" the story my way. It wasn't going so well for me. Meanwhile, my protagonist was getting a bit more assertive that she really wanted to go quite an opposite path. 
Something didn't feel right and I knew it. I fought this way for an hour. Writing. Deleting. Writing. The cursor and I weren't getting along either! 
What did I do? I walked away. It was one of those days when I needed to get away from the computer and let the story wait. It isn't easy to do that but it was a day of letting go. Let the story come alive again tomorrow. My protagonist could wait. We would meet up tomorrow and collaborate. I would listen. However, I would decide because I know my plot and ending. The ending of my WIP won't change. It's just the daily writing that gets me there to that ending. 


Today is a new day to write. Just don't think too much. Let the story be.

What have you done when days like this happen? Do you walk away? Do you have tips or tricks that help you get through it? 
Please share!

    Author

    By day listen to voice of the customer / client loyalty. Rest of my life listen to my protagonist & write her story. YA fantasy, mystery #writer. Live w/ #DVT..

    Blog posts are Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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