I felt so guilty over the weekend for not putting in any effort to finish off my novel. I keep procrastinating. I keep trying to look for that kick or that inspiration to get me started.
Well, it turns out, I could not get that same feeling I got back in February when I pumped out twelve thousand words over three days, spending approximately eight hours or more each day. It has become what I call drudgery. The last mile of the marathon. You are tired and you feel stuck. You just don’t feel like continuing anymore. I think you know what I mean.
Then I came across a paid article on Medium that talk about defining a writing schedule through the act of picking a word count and stick to it every day. It could be as simple as writing 200 words per day, 500 words per day or even 1000 words per day. This way you created a bite size chunk and reduce your anxiety instead of being overwhelmed with the thought of writing a scene or a chapter.
Now that was a good reminder for me. I used it to push me to get into a writing mode.
I’ll admit that along the way I got distracted by YouTube but generally I found myself putting in at least 200 words for the last scene of my novel. And I’m happy with that.
I…I also just realized something as I was writing this log and allow me to give you some context.
I have been feeling rather bored over the last few weeks despite having my Xbox to keep me entertained when I’m at home. Then this morning when I decided to switch on my desktop after nearly two months, I find myself playing a game for half an hour or so before deciding to call it quits, switched to another game and then quit after half an hour. After my desktop completed its Windows update, I decided to switch it off and be done with it.
And now I realized that the excess of anything can really kill your motivation to do anything else.
Put it this way. Ever since I got the Xbox, I have put in nearly every weekday night and weekends for the last month or so on it, playing the Halo franchise, Gears of War 4, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Call of Duty: WW II. So much so that I didn’t really spend much time on reading or writing. And when I’m not gaming, I would be watching videos, shows and films.
So it created a situation where I stopped creating stuff and consumed too much content. What was originally a relaxing activity, it became a chore that drained your energy level.
Going forward, I will still play video games, read and watch videos but I will do it in a more controlled manner. Instead of playing video games consecutively for days, I will need to control myself and put myself in a creation mode from time to time.
That means to write more.
Yes, I’m creating stuff in my day job as I’m a software developer and doing UX/UI design as part of my work. But to me, there is a difference between that and writing fiction. Creating software is an activity that requires more logical thinking whereas writing fiction requires more imagination. In order to feel fulfilled, I need to do both.
And like what I said earlier, too much of anything zaps your motivation level out. By listening and doing what both half of my brain wants, I will end up happier and not have this nagging or guilty feeling like I have been having for the past few weeks.
Hmm… I also realize I’m having some trouble getting my thoughts out in a coherent manner, especially for the latter parts of this log. Maybe it doesn’t show up. Maybe it does. But I definitely felt it as I write. It’s like my mind is gagging and choking.
Well, this is definitely a lesson for anyone who wants to write well.
The moment you stop practicing intently, you get rusty. And from my infrequent writing and publishing of daily log, I’m sure you know what I mean. It applies to anything that you want to do in life.
So keep doing whatever it is you need to do, even if you are producing just a tiny fraction. In my case, that means to write at least 200 words per day to prevent myself from becoming rusty.