March has been weird for everyone, I’m sure. Maryland, my home-state in the US, has been under a state of emergency with escalating degrees of a shutdown for at least three weeks.
My wife and I are incredibly fortunate to both still be working. I am working from home, and she is considered an essential employee for a healthcare institution. (She works in a lab, so she’s not on the front lines of the pandemic response, like most doctors or nurses are.) My son is out of daycare for the time being, and I haven’t left my house in a week.
I’d be happy to talk about life under quarantine if you’re interested, but not in this post.
This post is about writing! And other goals.
Last Month’s Goals
- Write 10,000 words.
- Go to the gym 3 times per week.
- Apply for/confirm at least one convention.
So how have I done amidst such strange circumstances?
Write 10,000 words?
No, but I am getting damn close! I wrote just 8,000 words in March, all for my short stories. The best part of this is that I didn’t have one burst of writing for 4,000 words or anything. I wrote consistently for most of the month, using weekends to pad the numbers a bit.
Honestly, the only thing that kept me from reaching 10,000 was that I wrote about 500 words in the first week of March. Had I been less lazy that week, I could have hit my goal with ease.
The point is, I’m on a good rhythm with my short stories.
With 18,000 total written for my discovery draft, I’m well over halfway to my goal of 28-30k. I’m aiming to finish my discovery draft of part 1 in April. Then, I can begin the first rewrite/revision phase, where I’ll transfer the story from my journal into a Word doc. That process will help me fix a lot of the issues I’ve already identified in the discovery draft. I can then have a better sense of how many revisions will be required before I reach out to my editor and move onto the discovery draft for part 2.
Go to the gym 3 times per week?
Well… no. My gym has been closed for at least two weeks. I’ve tried to get into a home workout routine, but it has mostly consisted of stretching and walking my dog a couple times per day, and I’ve tried to do one set of 20-30 push-ups every day.
I also shoulder-press my son over head, a) because he thinks it’s hilarious, and b) because 3 sets of 10 toddler presses is a decent workout.
While it’s nice to think I can work up to a decent home routine, I’m still trying to figure out how to balance working from home with a toddler. So this goal is in limbo for the time being.
Apply for one convention?
Yes! I applied for a convention, but I’m not at liberty to say which one until I actually get a confirmation from them. Their application deadline was yesterday, but I imagine they still have to go through their selection process.
Hopefully I’ll get some good news soon!
Goals for April
- Finish my discovery draft! I have a little more than 10k words to go, but I’m just gonna go for it. This draft will be the first of a two-part story, and I still want to fix it up a bit before beginning part 2 (for narrative cohesion). But this is my primary goal.
- Figure out a decent home workout routine. I’d be happy with push-ups and toddler presses every day.
- Read more. Without a daily commute to and from work, my reading has taken a huge hit. I haven’t yet completed a book in 2020! I should be able to finish book 9 of The Wheel of Time this month, though.
If you’re feeling lazy or a little lost through these tough times, here’s my advice: Focus on taking care of yourself and your family. Little goals like enjoying a movie together, or getting even the most routine chores done, like doing the dishes, go a long way towards maintaining some semblance of normalcy.
Stay safe, and stay healthy everyone.