Chasing the Dream

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Twelve
Tags: ,

CampNano is almost two weeks in and by the end of the weekend I will be almost one week behind in word count. Things did not go quite as expected during these past two weeks. First of all, the Fourth of July happened, which meant I went away for a weekend of frolics and fun. I hadn’t fully budgeted for the time away in my original planning of word count, and I was lazy that first week, not quite reaching my extended word count of 2,300 per day. In other words, I lost my lead. Add in that this week I seemed to have a million and one things that required my attention means that I’m also behind nearly two days worth from this week. My goal is to write another thousand words today but even given that, after the weekend is finished I’ll be nearly 6 days behind in word count.

I have to put on some serious speed.

My modified game plan is to stick to the extended word count. I will not accept less than the 2,300 per day. I’ve also realized that given my dog’s need for attention I need to make sure I’m writing before breakfast so I can sneak in a few hundred words before he even realizes I’m awake. (He’s a needy kind of thing that doesn’t bother you for actual things like play or food or exercise -excepting walks- but instead will stare and whine incessantly so you will sit next to him. As I don’t have a laptop this means word count gets reduced to what I decide to hand write, which isn’t what I’m currently typing up. It’s complicated.) This also means that I need to make time in the evening before bed so that worst case scenario I have at least two hours I can focus my energies.

I should be focusing those energies right now, but I’ll tell you, starting a new chapter always sucks. Maybe it doesn’t always suck, but I’ve got a minor time leap between the chapters so it’s almost like starting a story fresh. This drives my brain nuts. As long as I’m on a roll I’m good but as soon as there’s a break in the story I freak myself out.

Anyways, I’m chasing the dream, quite literally. Or…not, depending on your view I suppose. I mean, I’m not actually running to chase down my word count on foot but it’s kind of like that. So for camp we’re broken into cabins. Early on I had the advantage that there were several prolific writers in my group. That meant that even when I was behind I could look to the person who was just a few thousand words ahead of me and say, “I’m going to catch up to that person’s word count.” Well, I’ve run up the ranks and at my current standing I’m only behind one person. That person is closing in on 17,000 and I just broke 12,000. I’ve got a bit of a marathon to catch up, especially if she updates this weekend.

I find short term goals like this very appealing. It’s like when I go jogging and I tell myself, “Just to that next light post, and then if I’m ready to collapse I can,” and then I reach that post and tell myself to focus on getting to the next one. I’ve found word count goals similarly effective, which is why I made myself a chart in Excel breaking down how many words left on any given day. I like to see that I’ve made actual progress and that my goals are small and attainable.

Catching up to the last of my fellow campers seems like a huge stretch. Hopefully I can manage it, but then I have to change my thinking to either A: find a bigger fish to catch up to, or B: focus on staying in the lead.

Any other competitors have tricks for getting to the needed word count after falling behind?

  1. catherinelumb says:

    Rewards. My word count progress is reliant upon them – that, and the excel sheet since I also like to visually see progress. Make sure you’re congratulating yourself for every milestone reached. You’re doing great, keep up the momentum and you’ll be fine. But don’t forget that pat on the back once in a while for achieving the ‘improbable’ 😉

    • S. Toman says:

      I’ve just started to need to enact rewards for myself. Looking at how much I’ve fallen behind became a bit overwhelming today, like I have way too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it in. 1,000 words = 1 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My hope is its going to get me over the initial hurdle and put me back on pace.

      • catherinelumb says:

        Rewards can really help as I find that it trains my brain to understand that I’m earning those nice relaxing moments of fun!
        Falling behind can feel awful – but keep your perspective. 1,000 words is a good target, keep on going in those achievable chunks and you’ll soon catch up I’m sure. Try to not focus on the big picture – take it word by word.
        Good Luck! 🙂
        And thanks for taking some time to read and comment on my post. Appreciated more so because you’ve taken time from your writing schedule (even though you’re behind).

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