Life continued to happen for me, with the ensuing insomnia and brain fog. But I have a few successes to report, of which I am terribly proud. On Monday, I had an epiphany, or rather a replay epiphany, because I have had this realization before, but had forgotten it. Writers in the Storm ran a day-long set of sprints for forty-five minutes of every hour on Monday the 20th. I only had my half-hour lunch break to participate, so I almost didn’t even try. However, I forced myself to put on my headphones, put my phone on message, and turn off my email notifications. I wrote 346 words in that half-hour, which for me is lightning speed.
Thursday night, I had another epiphany, again a replay epiphany, because I had this one while writing my dissertation many years ago. Gabriela Pereira of DIYMFA quoted one of her mentor, saying “Dream big and execute small,” meaning that it may be a good idea to write a short story when starting out than trying to write an entire novel. I came to realize that I was paralyzed by the thought of writing a dissertation, but that breaking it into paper-length pieces made it less daunting. It was freeing to realize I could do the same with my fiction writing.
Once I started thinking about writing fiction in the same terms as I write my non-fiction, I realized it was okay to spend some time getting to know my world and my characters instead of feeling the pressure of making certain word count or time commitment. I write more like a fountain than a river–the basin fills up, then overflows. I don’t have to hit a certain word count everyday, because I don’t work that way. I do have to protect my time to keep thinking, working, and writing as I can, but in the way that works for me.
So, all in all, I learned a lot this past week, concrete proof that old dogs can learn new tricks.
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