Five day into having committed to make progress on the SF short story, I’d be inclined to report that the outcome has mainly been frustration.
Technically, I’m now four scenes in, but that represents little real progress. It doesn’t count a first scene written before determining where the story should actually start, then discarded. Monday and Tuesday produced the bulk of this week’s new words, 1500 or so. Yesterday was mostly rewrite of those scenes followed by 230 new words (i.e. barely any at all) and today was rewrite of rewrite ending when I ran out of time with no new words.
To be quite honest, I’ve gone quite flat in general. I’ve not been reading apart from material needed for my study, and study itself is proceeding like a crawl over broken glass. I’ve applied self-discipline to honour my various to-do lists, but it’s all quite joyless.
On top of which, it’s frustrating. If I sacrifice writing time for study, and study doesn’t go well, then what’s the point?
And I really do miss lost writing time. I need the practice. In one of his video tutorials on writing, Brandon Sanderson talks about reaching the point where you’re good enough to realize how bad you are (to paraphrase), and I’d say that’s where I’m at. It’s certainly its own kind of frustration. I feel a strong compulsion to improve, to level up past that point, but it’s not going to happen when my practice consists ten words a day wrenched out between other obligations.
Stupid other obligations.
2 thoughts on “Frustrating Week So Far”
Sorry to hear the week has been so tough. And man, I hear you. I think I read it in a painting book once, the levels of mastery: Unconscious Incompetence/Conscious Incompetence/Conscious Competence/Unconscious Competence. But hang in there and persevere, regardless. Something will eventually click and things will get moving again. Best thing you can do is be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for what you feel like you should be doing (trust me on this one: it doesn’t help, and it doesn’t get more or better work done). And scrapped words are still words–sometimes in these early stages we have to tread the wrong paths to realize which paths are the right ones, and that’s a necessary part of the process, not wasted time.
Hang in there and do what you can–all progress is forward progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
Thanks Maggie. You’re right of course: slapping yourself around doesn’t work, only persistence does, in the long run. After posting, I decided I’d done enough uni assessment work for today, then gathered all the course work I was scheduled to do tomorrow and worked like a demented beaver to complete it today, and did. That frees up tomorrow to focus almost entirely on writing, which I hope will shift this sense of frustration.
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