The Author Journey: Combating Headwinds
A few months ago, I resolved to finally get cracking on a book idea that had been floating around in my head for some time now. To correspond with this goal, I also decided to launch a monthly blog series taking you through the ups and downs of preparing a manuscript. Well, this particular entry will be focusing on the latter.
While work has continued forward overall, I’ve certainly been slacking. What’s more, many of these admissions may seem familiar as they were issues I’ve been aware of and faced in the past. Nevertheless, it’s time to tackle them once again and find a way past them. With that, here are some of the headwinds I’ve been dealing with these past few weeks and how I intend to right my course.
Three Things I’m Doing to Get My Book Back on Track
Getting busy (and being lazy)
During the pandemic, my wife and I have both been fortunate enough to continue working (since we both work at home). That’s an undeniably great thing overall, but it has made it more difficult to focus on my manuscript. Although I had previously made adjustments to my schedule — including getting up earlier and trying to stay ahead — lately, things just seem to be busier. Thus, I haven’t always been able to dedicate the time I intended to.
Truth be told, I’ve also been slipping on my goal to get up earlier. I’ve noticed my standard alarm clock timer sneaking further and further back in recent weeks, most recently landing at 8:17 (all of my alarms end in ‘7’ for some reason). So, part of the prescription is easy: get back to getting up early. In fact, I think I’ll mix things up even more by getting up early, starting my day with some yoga, and then spending time on my book before jumping into my other work. Yes, talk is cheap, but I think this updated agenda is doable and will be fruitful.
The rough rough draft
Remember when I said that one of my goals was going to be allowing myself to write imperfectly and just fix it later? That was fine at first, but has proven to be more of a challenge as I’ve progressed. No matter how hard I try, I still end up feeling frustrated when I can’t find the words to express what I want to say or tell the story the way I want to. While I’ve been able to work past these stumbling blocks in many cases, admittedly, there have been other instances where they stop me dead in my tracks. Luckily, I have been able to hop around to other parts of the project when this happens, but it’s still been a problem nonetheless.
The solution? Sadly, I don’t quite have one yet. I suppose I just need to suck it up and keep trying. Additionally, I’m thinking it may be time to do a few editing days so I can start to feel better about what I’ve already written and, in turn, be more motivated to continue.
Change of scenery
Something I knew would be a challenge before getting started with this manuscript was the fact that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy some of my favorite writing venues, such as Starbucks. Sure, I’ve tried to mix things up a bit by moving my writing to the living room and working on my iPad instead of my computer… but it’s just not the same. You’d think that creating a routine would be more powerful than sitting in a coffee shop but, alas, I really do miss getting out of my apartment and working somewhere else every so often.
Luckily, I may have a fix here. This weekend, my wife and I will be taking a road trip to Las Vegas and staying there for a few days. Contrary to what I assume most people do in Sin City, we actually plan on spending the vast majority of the time in our rooms working (we actually chose Vegas not for the gambling or drinking but because rooms are cheap at the moment and we’ve heard it’s pretty empty). Perhaps I’m naive but I’m really thinking that this change of scenery can help kickstart my creativity. If nothing else, hopefully the break from our redundant lives will allow me to return home with more inspiration to implement my latest routine revisions.
For all the things I’ve done wrong so far when it comes to this project, there is something I did very right — and you’re reading it. If it weren’t for this series, it’s quite possible that these headwinds would get the best of me and, to continue with a metaphor, send my unfinished manuscript away with the wind. Instead, penning these updates forces me to face my failures and set a new course. That’s something I’m actually very thankful for as I do really want to write this book (even if it might not feel like it on some days). So, thanks for reading and helping me stay on task!
Also published on Medium.