Saturday Check-in: pre-deadline burnout

teacup on book beside pink flower decor
photo credit: Carli Jeen on Unsplash

Hello there my fellow story seekers!

I’ve never successfully been one of those writers who wrote every day. I’ve tried many, many, many times over the years. (If you’re looking to write every day, by the way, and have more confidence in yourself than I do, I highly recommend checking out the #WriteChain Challenge.) I don’t know what it is. Except I kind of know what it is. It’s a combination of two things:

  • fear of the blank page (aka writer’s block), and
  • burnout

Writing every day isn’t a sustainable creative practice for me. I have to be able to go a few days without even having to think about writing; days-long stretches where I don’t even have to write a sentence.

How I combat burnout with my current writing schedule

During the semester, I don’t have the luxury of waiting for when the mood hits me to write. For my MFA program this semester, I’m expected to produce upwards of 45 pages a month. This is a huge number for me. (Although I must say I’m becoming more and more comfortable with it.)

So I took a 9-to-5 model to my writing. Monday thru Friday, I block out two hours in the afternoons to write. And I only work three weeks of the month (allowing one week to rest while I wait for feedback on my previous submission.) So for three weeks, I have a goal to write roughly 900 words Monday thru Friday.

This way, I get my work done and I don’t feel the continually mounting pressure to keep up an unbroken writing streak.

That being said…

I struggled hard toward the end of this last session. I came up to my deadline like

Draft Thread - Lucky 7th Ed. (1st: Currently T-5th, 2nd ...

So even though I’d paced myself, making myself write almost 5,000 words a week challenged me. But like any kind of strength training, it’s going to be sore and stiff after the first few times. Next month, my mindset will be changed by the experience of this month and I’ll be stronger than before.

What I’ve read this week

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • The Memory House by Linda Goodnight (for school)
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The rest of the books in the readathon

Okay, since I started this little endeavor to read all the unread books on my shelves, I’ve read six books. Do you know how many books I bought Thursday at the bookstore? Six.

So here’s the updated list:

  1. Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  2. Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile House by Lemony Snicket
    Series of Unfortunate Events: The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket
  3. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  4. Milkwood by Jerry Spinelli
  5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  6. A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle
  7. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  8. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  9. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  10. Under Sea, Over Stone by Susan Cooper
  11. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
  12. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
  13. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  14. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
  15. The Dark Tower by Stephen King
  16. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  17. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  18. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

And those are just all the books under 250 pages 🤦‍♀️ Now you see why it’s dangerous for me to be left alone in a bookstore with my credit card? And to have a Half Price Books around the corner from my house? Joseph Beth, Half-Price Books–I blame you.

Blog Recap

I posted my first craft review! Check out my review (half reader reaction, half craft essay) of Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.

I hope to do short reviews of all these books I’m reading, at least when I learn something about writing from them.

I hope y’all have an enjoyable weekend!

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