Sunday 16 January 2022

Nerd Church - The Writer Diaries: Run To The Next Tree (Write To The Next Full Stop)


Wanna see how far you can run? Wanna train to run a marathon or a 5k or whatever it is running-people do?

Find a tree.

'Run To The Next Tree (Write To The Next Full Stop)' written all fancy on a piece of paper, with a tree in the background. It's artsy and everything.

Find a tree, run to that tree. If you're not too tired, pick another tree and run to that one. 

Repeat until you're too tired to run any more, then rest and either carry on, or make your way home.

(In the absence of trees, other landmarks like buildings, post boxes, or an irritated friend who's been told to 'stand right there! don't move!' are acceptable.)

Wanna write? Wanna make some sort of progress with your writing even when it feels impossible?

Find a sentence.

Write/transcribe a sentence of your Work In Progress (WIP.) Type to the end of that sentence.

If you're not too tired, carry on with the next sentence - aim for the next full stop.

Repeat until you're too tired to type anymore, or you can't see the screen, or you feel rough. 

Then rest, and either carry on, or stop for a while. You can go again later. You can go again tomorrow.

Previously, my daily aim was transcribing from my WIP longhand-notebook into a word document for at least eight minutes every day. And most days I'd manage that and more.

I know a lot of people would consider that target pitifully small - I don't care.

But migraines suck. And make me hella tired. And I've been having a lot more of them across the last six months or so. That's on top of the regular Anxiety/Depression issues.

Add to that all the other things I usually have to cram into my day - including blogging, of course - and I just couldn't manage physically, or find the motivation mentally, to do that eight minutes every day.

Between not being able to see the computer correctly, being in a lot of pain, and pretty much face-planting the keyboard with exhaustion, it just wasn't gonna happen.

(I don't struggle as much to write long-hand because it doesn't involve screens, although it can still be difficult. My aim for long-hand is only 10 words minimum per day - also nice 'n' small.)

So I decided something was better than nothing. And I'd aim for the next full stop.

And if I felt OK after that one, I'd aim for the next one. And the next one. And the next one.

Which makes a snail attempting to write the works of Shakespeare look like a full-pelt cheetah in comparison to my pace, but at least I have a pace. 

(For the most part - there's the occasional day where I can't push past the pain to do anything. Those are sick days, pure and simple. And we all get those.)

Yes, it often feels like I'm crawling towards a finish-line that I may never actually reach.

But that's OK.

Because I want to write this bizarre, hard-to-define, novel.

I just have to make it to the next tree-stop. 😉

Do you ever find it hard to make progress on a project - whether writing or otherwise?

Do you think it's useful to cut things down into the smallest of chunks? Or should I try something else?

Talk to me! 😊💬

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  1. My projects nowadays consist mostly of schoolwork, but I do try to split them up into chunks to avoid burnout. Before, I would try to write the whole first draft of an essay in one day. Now, if I set aside different days to write 500 words, I actually become a lot more productive. It's about quitting while you're ahead, not writing until you can't see straight.

    1. So true Em! If you can do more then fine, but a lot of the time it's much better - and smarter - to do just a little bit <3


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