At the grocery store yesterday, August 21st, I saw a container of pumpkin spice yogurt. The first of the season. Cinnamon and clove-scented thrills shudder through me. Though I have a rule: no pumpkin spice before labor day. Mainly so I don’t get orange stains on my summer whites, but also because pumpkin spiced yummies are best eaten on a chilly fall day.
As I bypassed the pumpkin spice yogurt, and instead grabbed sour cream (because 2016’s general election denied us a taco truck on every corner, and for now, I must make my own tacos), the cinnamon shudders faded. Not only is it too soon for summer to be over, but WOW! I’ve had poor output since June.
Some of that was planned. I spent a good chunk of time tearing out a dead end subplot from one draft. Some of it was quasi-planned, see my post about writing while on vacation, and the rest, well the rest was a big gross shock.
Last spring I stopped keeping a word count spreadsheet. I just noted the date and the starting and ending counts. Which seemed just as a good, and didn’t require opening the spreadsheet. Moving between documents is my prime “Gonna check Twitter for a minute” excuse.
But, a half-page full of quasi-text looks like more than it is. It doesn’t track missed days. It doesn’t make me input 0 for days I didn’t write. It doesn’t give running totals, or provide Laurel must write this much each day to meet the month’s goals.
So when I began doing the math on that block of text, I got terrible results. Disappointing. Shameful. Scary. Disappointing because if you ask me, I am a writer. I write. I am serious about doing this. I write when I don’t feel like it, when I’d rather go to the movies. I do the work. But, I guess not.
Scary because the kind of productivity I’ve reached was a long time in coming. The slog was real. When I first decided to do this as more than hobby, I had terrible output. 50 words was a good afternoon of work for me. The first time I hit 250 words in an afternoon, I texted everyone in my writing group with the news.
Backsliding is way easier than marching onward. While I don’t fear 50-word mornings. I do fear time lost. Momentum frittered. Another three months of work ahead of me because I didn’t put enough work into the three months I had.
I re-started my word count spreadsheet. I’m getting up earlier to have more writing time. I’m showing up to meet my dream halfway.