Writing books is hard.
I mean, for me it’s hard. I do have a friend who cranks out 5000 words a day as well as a consistent stream of blog posts, articles and translations from Old Irish (I’m looking at you Daimler). I don’t even hate them. Most days.
My writing goes a little differently, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t used to be this tough. Like, for my second book, I wrote it in 3 months – Lúnasa (start of August) to Samhain (end of October). While working a full time job at the heritage centre and raising three kids.
I don’t even know how I did that. How does anyone do that?
Evenings, weekends, early mornings before work, lunchtimes at work. It’s not easy, but I feel like I was more focused back then (all the way back in 2013). So, I know it can be done. I know I can do that.
Have I been doing it though? Have I fuck.
When I got the contract for this next book (Pagan Priesthood, Llewellyn 2019), I thought I’d LOADS of time. I sort of lost myself in research for a while, and fooled myself into thinking I was doing ok.
And I ended up in a situation where I had to get my shit together and do the remaining 60,000 words in 3 months of solid writing. Sigh.
How do you do that?
Well, firstly you give yourself some time off each week. With the best will in the world, it is not ideal to think you can write 7 days a week in those circumstances. That’s a great writing habit to be in, long term. I know there’s a lot of famous writers who do it – write words every day, no matter what.
But under pressure and under my own anxiety around not delivering a book – or worse, delivering a shit book – I decided not to add to my writing pressure.
So for the last 3 months, I had set writing targets of 1000 words per day, five days per week – which is 5000 words per week, four weeks of each month (or split out accordingly, in a five week month like this one).
I have Scrivenor, which is an excellent writing programme, but because I’ve been working across different machines I’ve just put it all in a Google Drive folder so I can access it anywhere. It means I have to manually compile it after wards, as I’ve split it into a doc per chapter, but that’s ok.
And I track my targets and word count in an excel/google sheet that I manually update each day (pic above), and a little word tracker chart in my bullet journal. The last is a just to trigger my reward hit though, as I love manually writing it in and seeing the little line rise up steadily. It seems so much more satisfying than just numbers on a screen.
I’m not doing as well this month so far as I’d like to be, but I’m not technically behind as yet. The writing has just been a little patchier than I would have liked. Trying not to ‘blame’ myself for taking time off, but I do feel like I’m not on top of things this week after coming back, and I’m playing fierce catch up.
While still trying to be kind to myself and take evenings off.
Speaking of which, it’s 6.30pm now and I should be done for the day. There’s a stew on the boil downstairs, and the smell is making my stomach a little growly.
The bad news is that I have one more thing to do – record a guided journey for my Patreon – before I can finish up. And I might have to work the weekend, as I’ve got Ogham classes to sort out and teach.
Again with the sigh.
I’m doing my best though. Sure what else can ya do?
Like the Facebook Page to Catch up on Older Posts – www.facebook.com/DoTheWorkSystem
If you have a project you’re trying to keep track of, and want a little inspiration or accountability, share it in the Facebook group!