A moment of reflection on progress [Day7, #100DaysOfStories]

I’m proud to say that I have made it to Day 7. I have made some adjustments to my original understanding of how these 100 days should operate.

  1. I will only work Mon-Fri while my older son is in school and my younger one is napping. Yesterday I got very little accomplished (all of 255 words) because during the optimal time frame, I was finished a work project for a deadline that I was already behind on. Consequently, I only started writing once the kids were in bed. If you have kids, you know they are never really in bed, by which I mean, they often need to be put back to bed several times after the initial attempt. Also, my husband wanted to chat about Trump and Russia and our finances. Then he put on The OA, which was sufficiently distracting enough for me to stare at the tv while still pretending to write. I kept trying to stop the timer everything someone interrupted me, but eventually realized I’d never make to a full hour. (case in point: this blog, at less than 700 words and one full hour, was interrupted at least 3 times. And that was on a good day)
  2. For the purposes of these 100 days, both personal reflection and story posts will be accepted. I’ve debated whether this is cheating, because I generally find it easier to delve into my thoughts on myself rather than a story plot. And, let me admit that I think that it is better for me to concentrate on stories precisely because it is harder. Since the idea of the 100 days is to train the brain (like a muscle) to function in a particular way, and since sitting down and brain-barfing on my own crises and opinions is generally not that difficult, then it would be better to work on what is difficult. Especially since story writing is what I say that I want (this insanity, the chasm between what I say I want and my actual behavior, deserves it own post). In a perfect (ha) world, I would spend the 100 days hour writing stories and then, if there is time at the end of the day, I would go back and do some personal reflection posting. I like this approach, but since I don’t generally have enough time for personal reflection as it is, and since I *need* that, I’m just going to have to let it go for now.
  3. In a perfect world–that oh, so elusive perfect world– reflecting on progress and brainstorming plot would be separate from the one hour I spend on writing for the #100DaysOfStories. In practice, however, my kids always sleep less and need me more than I anticipate, I’m always behind on work projects, the house is pretty f***ing messy– which is all to say that I have no time, and if I am going to continue and make any progress, everything I do related to stories has to happen in this daily hour.
  4. I am finding that I am falling once again into the habit of writing without clear purpose in mind. The problem is as follows:
    1. I have stories that I want to tell.
    2. Disciplined b**** that I am, I sit to write and write, write, write.
    3. But after a year (actually, more) of this, I haven’t gotten any where, which is to say that I have no finished stories. None. I carefully tallied my progress, watching how many words I wrote, how long it took to write them, trying to do the 250 words a day. But nothing came of it because I would write and write and write without a clear purpose or direction.
    4. I complained about this to my then writing group, and was rebuffed with why I didn’t have more to show for all my activity. But this is the problem–activity without progression.
    5. As clear as I can see now, the problem is not pathological (although I suppose it may be that as well) but rather the result of having no structure. If the story was  both relatively short and full-blown in my mind, like “Arschgeburt,” then there’s not too terribly much of a struggle: writing was simply a matter of making the time to sit and get the story down. But in the case of story ideas, concepts that are of interest to me but don’t have a definitive structure or course of action, then I am left flailing about, writing without knowing what I am doing, and ultimately, without getting anywhere.
    6. In a subject clearly in need of it’s own post, I have been insufferably arrogant about my own work. Because I am also a down-on-myself depressive I failed to recognize that I was being arrogant in not taking writing classes. In retrospect, what a dumb, dumb, dumb thing to think: that I someone “knew” how to write a story, that the story would just “come” or “happen” without my effort. Without study the mechanisms of story telling.
    7. times up for the day. baby’s screaming. I’ll have to come back to this.

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