First I did something good. I worked ahead. At the end of week 22 I had written and entered first draft number 25 into my computer! I had some ideas come to me so I just wrote them out.
I had also worked ahead on purpose. We had friends coming to visit and I wanted to be able to devote all of my time to them.
Now the bad. It is now the end of week 24. Yes, I have 25 first drafts, but I have not done any writing in two weeks. Bad. Bad. Bad. Creating good habits is so difficult and requires so much time and dedication, that I feel bad about the slip. It’s like I was on a diet and just ate a huge slice of cake.
Will it be helpful to beat myself up about it? No. What is helpful is to write. So, that’s what I’m doing. Writing. Getting the pencil moving. Writing this blog post, then going on to write another first draft. Then another blog post. Then do some revisions.
Write. Write. Write.
I’ve made it to a pretty big milestone. Twenty first drafts in twenty weeks!
And you know what? I’ve hit a slump. I haven’t wanted to write. I haven’t had any good ideas. I did’t like what I was forcing myself to write.
So how did I battle it? I forced myself to write first draft number 21. A full week early, I finished my next first draft. And with it an epiphany.
Use my experiences to write.
I know this seems fairly obvious. I mean, hello. I am traveling the world, so why not use my experiences and observations. And I have been. Sort of. I’ve written many stories influenced by my travels, but only vaguely.
So for first draft 21, I sat down and made a list of all the countries I’ve been to (on this trip). Then I listed under each, thing that made that country unique. Thing I observed. Things that make that country interesting to me. Then I thought about how these thing affected the kids who lived in these countries.
I found this approach inspiring. Lots of ideas came to me.
The hardest part is thinking up stories that are relatable to children in the US or other parts of the world. Kids act the same all over the world, but can be in situations other kids wouldn’t be able to relate to at all. I’ve seen children steal a boat, get hit by a motorcycle then get up and run off, and play in and out of airport security. Not very common in the US. So, I focussed on just being a kid.
This new process may keep me going for a while. I have an amazing opportunity with this trip. I cant waste it!