Day 28: Removing the Obstacles

Well, we have just a few days left in the December 2009 Writing Marathon. Some of you are chugging along reaching those goals; some of you are simply writing a little bit very day. For me, this has been a very up-and-down sort of a month. November was extraordinarily busy for me and December proved to be even busier. Halfway through the month, I realized that there were obstacles in my path that were getting in the way of my ability to focus. Here’s just a few of the things that were driving me batty:

  • Pending projects
  • the filing (Boo!)
  • No designated “writing” workspace
  • Extra holiday craziness
  • Clutter

It got to the point where the “stuff” that I hadn’t gotten done was literally pissing me off more than not getting any writing done. As I’m sure many of you realize, balance is an extremely difficult thing to achieve for many writers, because we love to write — aka “work.” What I’m finding is that it’s next-to-impossible to have that balance if I let disorganization take over for “too” long. Of course, when I’m busy I let some things around the house go. (Who doesn’t?) But those little annoyances turn into BIG distractions, especially when your free time is limited because you have a “day job.”

What’s my solution? Identify and remove the obstacles, a piece at a time. Afterward, if there’s still something that’s frustrating you or preventing you from focusing, then that’s a separate issue. At least you won’t have any more excuses! Still have a few more days to go, and I’m hoping to get through my “goal” revisions!


Day 7: Goals and Establishing a Routine

Dec09WM7Well, it’s the end of Week One for our December 2009 Writing Marathon. Today, I ask you to reflect on your goals and see how you’re doing. Did you write a lot? Not enough? Did you end up doing penance like I did for your lack of writing?

Admittedly, I didn’t get a lot done out of the gate. Why? Well, partially because Week One for me was about getting back into a well-balanced routine. The tricky thing, though, was that I was pretty far behind on my housework. (Six months behind.) Not to mention, December decided to sound the Winter trumpet with colder temperatures and snow — just last week it was fifty degrees!

You see, I find that I’m more productive when I have a clean house, a decent workspace and a creative hobby. Why? Well, when I have these things I’m no longer distracted by “the things I should be doing” because they are already done. Once the house is already clean, I find I write more. Then, when I do get a break off the computer, I already have “something else” to do like learning how to knit or focus on my artwork. This balance definitely has some other benefits, too. (Like decreasing my stress!)

Now that I forced myself to get some of that back log done, this week I’m adding in an additional layer to round out that balance. Today, I start the Couch-to-5K Running Program from

Even though I didn’t get a lot of original writing this past week, I did take stock of what speculative fiction I do have to help me focus what I’m working on. Turns out I have quite a few marketable stories I could revise, and I do have a few other “plans” I can sort out. However, the novel revisions are a big time sink, and they force me to not publish or submit anything new. Going back to the whole “I typically write-for-hire” conversation, that’s pretty scary to me. After all, if I disappear from a publishing schedule for six months, would you still remember my author name?

Still, the time for asking questions about where I’m at in my career is over. It’s time to get serious.

Original Goal: Revise a little bit every day, average about three chapters a week.
Week One Summary: Figured out how to incorporate back story and cut exposition without having to rewrite novel. Wrote four days, revised most of the first chapter.

And so, I begin Week Two.

Monica Valentinelli >

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