Bula, chums! In mid-May, I had announced that I was going on a writer’s retreat thingamajig and today I wanted to give y’all an update on how that has been going, as well what writing full-time has been like.
After the announcement, my blogging escapades were supposed to be slowing down so that I could focus all of my time and energy on my current works-in-progress. My goal is to have a finished first draft of my main dark fantasy novel by the end of December. Yet, a couple of days after sharing that announcement, I came to a hilarious realisation: I’m a bloody workaholic.
I did manage to cut down my blogging shenanigans somewhat for the rest of May. Then June began and there was a death in the family, followed by some ugly family dynamics that made me learn the lesson of letting toxic people go, even if they are your loved ones. I honestly didn’t think I’d do much for the rest of the month. However, taking my desperate need for a distraction from all that shite and coupling it with this hungry ball of restlessness that is my workaholic tendency, I essentially returned to full-time blogging.
The second half of June was such a phenomenal month for me as a content creator! I hit multiple milestones, wrote some articles that were challenging for me, yet turned out to be some of my best work in a long time, and finally accepted that there are certain types of posts that simply aren’t my cup o’ chai. With all off that blogging action, I never would have expected to stay on top of my personal writing projects as well, yet I did. By some crazy kitty miracle, I kicked arse with the work I was doing.
People have told me all my life that being a workaholic is unhealthy and it’s a waste of life and blah, blah, blah. Those people can stick it because for some individuals being a workaholic is an extremely validating and wholesome part of their existence. It helps me give my life and the things I do quite a bit of value. Once I accepted that there was nothing wrong with being a workaholic and that I’m fucking great at it, my ambition sort of bloomed and I was able to tackle things that had blocked my mental functionality for months.
So, the retreat part of the Writer’s Retreat was a total fucking fail, nevertheless, everything else about it was a colossal success.
Apart from content creating on BiblioNyan, I had set a goal for myself to write outlines for my dark fantasy novel that equated to approximately 15,000 to 20,000 words total (this is just for the outline portions). These outlines would include character builds, detailed research and information on world-building, history, cultures, and more. The deadline for completing these outlines was set by Sir Besty (they’re far scarier and much better at keeping my arse on track with deadline type projects that are very important to me, so they’re in charge of my writing deadlines) and July 15th is when I shall be (should be) finished with the research part of my novel. After that, I’ll have one week to create a full plot outline of how I want the story to go; major elements only as everything else I like to flesh out while I write so that it’s natural and flowing. I’m approximately 60% done with my outlines and I know that I can definitely have them done in the next two weeks.
One of the hardest parts about sitting down to write a story that is extremely near-and-dear to my heart was getting past all of the mental negatives I had set-up. Some of those included fears of being too inadequate to get published and then worrying about wasting my energy on a pipe dream rather than something more logical and realistic. Sir Besty metaphorically slapped that crap-contemplation out of me. Once I was able to say to myself, “Fuck you and your negativity. You’re going to sit your arse down and write this book and get fucking published and be a fucking author so quit your bitching,” I was able to think about the story I wanted to tell and finally began my outline.
My process when I began was very random. Inspiration sort of eluded me for extended periods of time. Then one evening while I was playing a video game (Tomb Raider I believe), I was smacked with a tiny little morsel of how the story would begin. Rather than put it off or put it into my phone, I paused my game and went to my computer. Two hours later I had a very rough idea of the tale that I wanted to tell, spanning about two or three pages. It was so satisfying and made this dream of being published even more real to me. I ended up taking the rest of the night off to finish the game I was playing, and also to bask in the moment of, “Holy shit, I’m actually going to do this thing.” Stopping and appreciating the little moments like this one is imperative in staying motivated and on track with pursuing aspirations.
The next day, I found a writing app for my phone, inputted all of the necessary information such as target word count, project deadline, daily wordcount deadline, and a bunch of other things, and then sat down and started outlining all of the details. I try to dedicate at a minimum of four hours per day towards writing. If I miss a day for whatever reason, I make up for it with extra time the next day.
Thus far my writing processes has taught me much in the ways of being patient with myself and learning how to discipline my mind for this task at hand. I have ADHD and when I need to stay in one spot for a few hours doing one activity, the restlessness can feel overwhelming. The past month and a half has taught me how to cope through those periods of gross impatience via snacking (being able to physically do something other than type helps satisfy basic ADHD triggers in my brain, and I make sure to eat healthy things like carrots or cherries; grape tomatoes and bite-size chunks of cheese are my favourites as writing snacks) and throwing beanbags or hacky sacks. The latter also helps me stretch out and massage my fingers to prevent them from stiffening up or getting outrageously cold.
Now that I’ve conquered the getting started bit, I believe the next step is figuring out how to shut-down negative thoughts relatively quickly and permanently rather than allow them to spring up and then force myself to simply ignore it. Sir Besty’s lectures did help me ignore it for a little while and ignoring it works, but it’s really a short-term solution. What will help me out the most, psychologically, is to confront those feelings and tell them to fuck-off on a permanent basis. Hopefully, when I do a second update, I can chat more about that task with some semblance of a solution.
There are two reasons behind my decision to these do updates. Firstly, I wanted to help other aspiring writers who may be struggling with getting started. Secondly, it helps me sort through, or compartmentalise, the muddled thoughts I have in order to kind of process them and keep moving forward, if that makes sense.
Apart from that, please with me luck! I’m still pretty nervous about actively and relentlessly pursing my dreams of being a successful author, and I would be completely lying if I said that the pressure and anxiety doesn’t get to me every now and again.
If there’s anything specific you’d like to know about my writing processes, or if you have any general questions, please leave them for me in the comments and I’ll either address them there or in the next update post.