April Write Day: Writing in Quarantine

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

  1. Write 10,000 words.
  2. Go to the gym 3 times per week.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Figure out a decent home workout routine. I’d be happy with push-ups and toddler presses every day.
  3. 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.

Steve D

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