A Month of Writing – September 2016

MoW-ENSomehow September had played a time warp on me: it hardly started, and then instantly jumped to the end of the month without any prior notice, and with the days (if not weeks) lost in my memory, I had a fuzzy image of once more having fallen behind with my 365k Club challenge, but apparently the soon-to-be-autumn aura had a beneficial influence on me, since I did better than expected.

Looking back, not only at this summer, but also at summer 2015, makes me think this time of the year is just not a writing time for me. Sure, I write, but I do much less and I struggle as if my brain was subconsciously going on vacation. But as soon as someone mentions autumn (I confess, I like this word much better than “fall”) I jump right back into my routines… Well, not exactly “right back” into them, but I definitely become more productive.

Sure, the beginning of the month was still a bit of a struggle, which I blame on the autumn in Northern Arizona being so different than in Ireland: warm, bright, and colorful. Let’s say that tricked me into thinking I was still stuck in summer. Of course, I’m joking, but the truth is that after a week or so, I’ve regained my footing, and managed to balance writing, editing, beta-reading, and reading for pleasure.

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Sadly, I’m still behind with my 365k Club writing challenge. The end of September should have marked three quarters of my yearly goal, but I’m yet to get that badge. On the bright side, I’ve managed to keep up with my daily writing, making it another consecutive month, and I’m slowly closing the word count gap. From about 40,000 words missing at the end of spring, I’m now down to about 15,000 words to catch up, and with some more effort put into writing, I’m positive I can still meet my yearly goal… though it most likely will be a last-minute victory this year. I know many other 365k Club members are taking part in NaNoWriMo, but I’d rather have a freedom of jumping between projects to meet my goal, and writing 200 words extra until the end of the year feels much less stressful than trying to squeeze in extra 20,000 words within a month. I guess as much as I like fun challenges, NaNoWriMo is still not for me.

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But writing wasn’t the only thing I was supposed to do. As I declared in the previous Month of Writing post, I set myself a deadline for finishing edits of my novel, and even though pushing back into the routine turned out hard, I’ve managed to get a lot of progress. I was lucky to find fellow writers who write and edit at similar times to mine, so we’ve started an unofficial accountability group, and I have to say that 30-minute check-ins do miracles for my productivity. Of course, sometimes life interferes or research becomes a distraction, but a writing buddy waiting for an update is a great motivation to keep going.

Red Pen Badge

On top of that, I’m slowly catching up with my beta-reading, though if I was to point out to the task that’s fallen behind the most, that would be it. While a short story might be a matter of 2-3 hours, longer stories and novels require much more time and I can’t do it in one sitting. I still hope to be done with all the beta reading by the end of the year, and I’m learning my lesson for the future commitments. As much as I want to support other writers this way, I can’t make them wait months (and then some more months) for my feedback.

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Even though September had flown by almost unnoticed, I’ve managed to meet most of my goals, and rebuild some of my routine. I hope that with the help of our accountability group I’ll be able to catch up on all my goals, and do more than I’ve planned. How about you? Do you have a writing friends? What else keeps you going?

9 thoughts on “A Month of Writing – September 2016”

  1. I always find autumn/ winter an easier time to create, because I don’t feel I need to be out all the time. I don’t have a writer’s support group to keep me writing because I write so sporadically I’d drive people nuts.

    1. I’m not the “be out” person in the first place, but hot weather seems to drain me even when I stay indoors.
      And a writers group might be what you need to write more regularly :>. Maybe I should poke you whenever we’re both online. 😉

      1. Me too, I’ve started writing more recently, that’s possibly due to the autumness of it all.
        And I was editing whilst we were talking yesterday. I ‘think’ I got that chapter under control.

  2. I find this subject fascinating – my current Creative Writing course is all about sustaining productivity and how to cope when you can’t seem to write – it seems to me Joanna that the summer simply might not be the time for you to consider much writing. We all have our rhythms. Perhaps that would be the time to focus on edits and beta-reading, clearing the decks for the autumn and winter when your own creativity comes roaring in. And I couldn’t agree more about the helpfulness in having writing buddies/groups, etc that you regularly attend to keep you mindful of your writing life. It’s so hard to keep self motivated without the regular injection of other like-minded people.
    That said, I’m very impressed you’ve managed to close the gap from the 40,000 word shortfall down to 15,000 – that’s a serious amount to make up in a relatively short time. I hope that October proves to be a great writing month for you:).

    1. You’re right, that next year I’ll have to “reschedule” my summer and focus on other things. Though that makes my participation in 365k Club unless I aim for a lower word count and plan my writing differently. It’s always a learning curve, isn’t it? Seeing as your creative writing course is focused at that, it seems we all struggle with it.

  3. Wow. Catching up from 40K behind your word goal to within 15K… good job, Joanna. Honestly. And I know I’ve said it before, but any forward progress is progress, and much better than going in the other direction. I hope you have a fruitful October on all fronts!

    I don’t belong to a writing or accountability group per se, but I have several writing friends I’ve met online through blogging and social media over the past couple years. I also have two musician friends whom I get together with once a month for “creative sessions.” We alternate hosting the event and use the time to catch up on things, including “reporting” on whatever projects (writing, music, brainstorming, etc.) we’ve been working on.

    1. Thank you, Sara. Those numbers help me keep going and remind me that I can be disciplined and go back to writing after a break.
      My accountability group is anything but formal too. We have a google hangouts set up and we just ask if anyone else is arround when we’re about to write. It seems to be working well. I’m glad to hear you have like-minded people around you, and “creative sessions” sound really cool! 🙂

  4. Great blog, Melfka. I enjoyed reading about your struggles and your accomplishments. I can sigh and say, Oh good, I’m not the only one having this problem. And I can feel confident I can work through it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Clara! 🙂 I believe we all have this problem at some stage and I think what makes a writer is not “not having the problem” but how one overcomes it. 🙂

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