April has arrived and so has spring in Maryland (I hope). March was a surprisingly long month.
I spent a grand total of five days at the office last month, which is more than twice as many days as I had spent there in 2021. It was a chance to meet some colleagues in person for the first time, and it was nice being in that environment again.
Then everyone went home, and I returned to working from home.
Goals-wise, March was, on paper, less than great. But I feel like my mindset on these things has started to shift for the better. I feel like I know where I’m at in my writing endeavors, what I really need to focus on, and that what comes down the road should not distract me.
More on that next.
Last Month’s Goals
- Write 10,000 words.
- Read 3 books.
- Continue the exercise climb.
Write 10,000 words?
No, and this shortcoming has led me to a slightly new way of thinking about my monthly writing goals.
I wrote 7,122 words in March. The obvious problem, as always, is that I had three gaps in my writing progress that exacerbated how far behind I fell until I effectively gave up for the month. This happens basically every month when I fall behind early, or when something in normal life takes me away from writing for a few days.
To this point, my writing goals have been rather un-scientific. But that’s changing. One thing I’ve learned over the past few months is that if I really sit and focus, I can easily write 600 words (or more) in 30 minutes or less.
I realize how unimpressive that looks when many writers do 2,000 words per hour, but this is the first time I’ve really time-boxed my writing sessions with a clear goal to achieve.
I also now know that weekend writing is increasingly difficult and unreliable, because we just tend to have things to do. My twice-weekly posts on this site do not count towards my writing goal, but they definitely take up precious writing time, so I also need to account for that.
So here’s my new calculus:
- Total days in a month
- minus number of Saturdays and Sundays
- minus Tuesday blog writing
- minus days for any other or prior non-writing commitments
- x 600 words
For April, that gives me 9,600 words as a writing goal, which is right on target with my usual un-scientific goals. It also saves me the self-loathing of not finding the time to write on weekends or days when I have other things to do.
After two years of trying to shoehorn writing into my daily life and largely underachieving, it finally dawned on me that I need to ensure my writing routine actually fits around my daily life, too. So that’s what I’m doing.
Read three books?
I did not finish a single book in March. I have been reading, but my Audible listening has hit a dry spell, and I’m still taking my time with Towers of Midnight. I’m also really enjoying it at the moment and, strangely, have no desire to plow through it.
I definitely listened to a lot more podcasts than usual in March, primarily because that’s how I followed the early weeks of the Ukraine conflict.
I’m on the hunt for something different. Probably some non-dystopian sci fi or fantasy. The world is dystopian enough for me, at the moment. I’ll gladly take your recommendations though!
Continue the exercise climb?
I feel like I’m on the right path. I’ve finally decided on a pseudo-routine to guide me throughout the week. Basically, I want to alternate between longer (20-40-minute) yoga sessions and resistance training/running. My cardio is completely shot, so I’d like to start running 2-3 times per week, paired with push-ups and pull-ups for a more complete workout. If I feel physically tired or mentally drained, then I’ll do yoga.
I did not maintain a meditation routine, so I likely need a daily calendar reminder to… not forget.
The climb continues.
Goals for April
- Write 9,600 words. Oddly specific and yet not random. (See above)
- Read 3 books. My new podcast notifications have settled the last few days, so I’ll obviously need some other form of storytelling to distract me. If only I could look at words on paper and hear them said by the voice in my head… I’ll think of something.
- Continue the exercise climb. I think success here will look like me running/working out or yoga-ing 4-5 times per week for the month. Plus remembering to meditate.