Breaking the Streak (and Why It’s Okay)

FEATURED IMAGE My other fun “fan” project… Star Wars. I’m so easy for old fandoms. Oh, and Episode 5 does have content now… Episode 1, not so much. Too many nightmares about Pod Racing, I think. (But I can still recall the entire fight with Darth Maul by heart!)

As you know, I love to talk about how I got my groove back with writing after a years long block! One of the biggest components was 750Words, a place that gave me a daily goal, that helped me reach my “NaNo a Month” since July 2015.

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This was slightly traumatic. (Image from 750Words’ interface)

But on December 26, 2015, I decided to let go of my daily streak on 750Words. I’d asked the help desk on the site twice already to fix my streak that month, and I thought it was time to finally “free” myself, and to be honest about my writing. I could fill the space with “TODAY SUCKS”, copied over and over until I hit the mark, and that wouldn’t be fair to me in the end.

It hurt, I won’t lie; it stirred up my already addled brain something fierce. But what it did was give me a chance to recover from our sudden, involuntary move, a traumatic event that effected my working space as well as my mental space. I had to be kind to myself, and I had to be Real. Trying to fill space just to fill it wouldn’t help me on my fan novel(lla)s, it wouldn’t help me grow as a writer.

jan2015

Finally made a 10 day streak for the New Year! And I’ll tell you want, wanting to avoid how chaotic this looks is enough motivation to keep my streak up… (Image from 750Words’ interface)

 

Since then, I’ve done three half-days and one totally missed day. My “January” is giving me lowkey hives when I look at how “uneven” it is. But that’s okay. Not everyone is built to write every day, and I need to remind myself that I can be one of those people if I need the space. (Though I think that, on the days I don’t put out “content”, I might start writing journal entries again.  It reminds me of older internet haunts. Alas, poor LiveJournal, I knew it, Horatio; a place of infinite wank, of most excellent fancy subtly keyworded icons…)

The reason I loved my streak, though, is because it gave me a vague sense of competition. Not necessarily with other people– though, to be completely honest, I do like some friendly competition!– but with myself. I wanted to press on, to do better than I had the month before, or at least always hit a certain amount.

After passing 102k in November 2015, though, I really didn’t know how I can top that, I’ll be honest!

Though I should say, journal entries don’t count in my latest and greatest way to get my competitive blood going. Coupled with 750Words, I am now doing “Get Your Words Out” — a place where I can set a monthly/yearly goal and have to check in on it every month with my current count. This gives me a goal to hit monthly, rather than just mindlessly aiming for another 50k a month, which might not be possible each time and could case more stress in the long run. (Sadly, I am running this post too late to let other readers sign up, so I’m sorry for that!)

My new daily amount is much higher than the 750 I’m used to. That gets a fire under my butt, especially if I’ve missed days– which I totally have– and trying to make sure that I do not toddle to my monthly check-ins with a sense of shame, I’m motivated. I’m a little over right now, which is good, because that will allow me to take some time off, if necessary.

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The GYWO Tracker is lovely, as it tells me how far behind/ahead I am… but it also makes me honest for the days I’m not doing so hot. (Image from GYWO Tracker)

In Summary: I broke my streak. I’m okay with that. I’m working on finding new ways to inspire myself to keep going, even if I take a day off now and then. On the days I do write, I want to write the minimum from my GYWO, if not from my usual 750. It’s helped so far. And I’m positive about the rest of the year, too.

Perhaps the biggest goal I’m aiming for us having a working draft of my first Young Adult Fantasy novel, Rhyme of Saint Etna, by Fall 2016. I’m projecting a Spring 2017 self-pub release, but that’ll only be after I get at least a bare-bones idea of the second book. I’m terrible if I don’t have a buffer, and even a skeleton of a sequel will help me feel less panicked. I hope to get one out a year, and I’m confident I can do that.

I just gotta put these fan novels out, first.

WHAT’S NEXT? I’m considering consolidating my “fanscaping” ideas to trying to explain what a “fan novel” is in the first place; I want to encourage the fanfiction community to think of their accomplishments as something positive and to be proud of. So often our contributions, big or small, feel as if they are not as legitimate as other fandom offerings, and I’d like to at least try and make a dent in how we think about our inspired works.

I also want to chronicle the way L and I work to curate and promote our original works!

** IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SUPPORTING OUR PATREON, PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE DOING A FLAT 5USD FEE, AND YOU WILL NEED TO RE-PLEDGE TO MAKE SURE THE OLD AMOUNT IS NOT TAKEN OUT **

If you have questions or want to chat, please hit me up at my Writerly Twitter, ESSWrights!

Lots of Love,
M

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