On December 24, 2016, I went for a run. Over the next week or so, I managed to run every day. So then I thought, hey, why don’t I keep going? I’ve now run at least a mile every day for the last 400-plus days. I know the streak can’t continue indefinitely. Life happens, but I feel like it’s been a good addition to my life. Exercise is a known mood booster, and so I’m getting a daily dose — good for these frustrating and bleak February days. The streak changes the conversation I have with myself from “am I going to run?” to “when am I going to run?” The second question is a better one to be asking.
Anyway, since the running streak has been going well, I decided to try another one. On each weekday, I write at least 500 words of fiction. Unlike the running streak, I know this one will have to change. At some point I’ll finish the novel I’m working on, and then I’ll need to edit it. But until I get a draft, I’m writing 500 words per weekday.
I’m liking this streak too. 500 words is not that much. It’s basically like a blog post, or a handful of emails. Some days, that’s really all I can do. Other days, I set out to write 500 words and wind up with 1000. But either way, the next day I do it again. And slowly the novel takes shape. It’s not a good novel, but it is a novel. And eventually I’ll make it better. Or start on another one. Writers get better by writing. I’ve already built one kind of writing practice into my life with this blog. But fiction is a different beast, and I would like to get better at it. Which means I need to do it.
(A side note: I did roughly this same process for writing my time management fable/novella in November. I wrote 1000 words a day until momentum truly took over. I finished a draft in November, edited it in December, and have a contract in the works now. I am really excited about it — coming to bookstores in February 2019!)
Now, back to my current next book. Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, comes out May 29 (here are links at Amazon, BN.com). I’m currently working through the “first pass” stage. I have the formatted manuscript printed up, and I’m checking the pages for any issues. I found one INCREDIBLY EMBARRASSING math error in the introduction. Wow. I have been sending out PDFs to get blurbs (those quotes on the back cover from people praising the book) and I want to write everyone and apologize for the error, lest they think I am an idiot. But, given that several in-house editors (and friends and relations) have read the manuscript and nobody noticed it, perhaps it is not nearly as obvious as I now see it as.
Other than the INCREDIBLY EMBARRASSING math error, I’m really liking the book. Like, I may have read it 100 times as of now, but I still like it. I hope you will too.
Other stuff in the works: this website is getting a makeover. The new version will showcase books and speaking (and the podcast!) a bit more prominently, but the blog will still be on the home page. If there is anything you’ve found frustrating about this version of the site, or anything you like and would like to keep, please let me know.
On the schedule this weekend: Our last wrestling meet of the season. A parents social for parents of fifth graders (I’m looking forward to that one). Studying the samples I picked up in my contractor’s show room yesterday. Unlike on HGTV, it turns out renovations don’t actually happen in 42 minutes plus commercials! (The contractor had some HGTV-mocking cartoons on his bulletin board, which I enjoyed). I am getting quite the geology lesson. We were going to do quartz countertops, but I kind of liked the way granite looks more, so now I need to take a field trip to a granite yard to look at actual slabs in the wild. I went to a quarry as part of a geology class I took in college and I never knew I’d be dealing with this again in the context of my kitchen counters.
Photo: A re-run from the writing retreat in July.