For a while, back when I started writing, I hit 3.5K words a day, which is pretty good for a noob. Then life happened, I stopped writing for a while, and my brain went to mush. For the past year, 500 words was the best I could manage in a day, even if I sat in front of the computer all day. I was at the end of my rope, and seriously considering giving it all up.
The last week, though, I’ve been burning up the keyboard. 2000, 2500, 3000 words a day. I can’t say for sure what caused it, but there’s probably a few things. One is that I’m working on three different projects–two that have been stewing in the back of my brain for a while, and one that’s a throwaway experiment, so I have literally zero stress about whether it works, or makes sense, or even gets out into the world. I’m trying it to see if I can make it work and if I can’t–well, no harm, no foul. And I can say that there truly is no harm in it, because with 3K a day going onto the different stories, I’m still making progress that’s way beyond what I’ve been managing. But three new stories with most of their high points already figured out inside my head make the words come easy, and I’m starting to remember how I got those 3.5K days, back when I was just a smidge of ink on the paper.
Another thing I did was find some background music that helps me focus. With the health issues, employment issues, and house issues this year, it’s been tough to focus myself. Anxiety makes it hard not to drop something because it’s not helping you RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. And, heaven help me, I needed some help there for a while. But, after trying to tough it for far too long, I invested in a lifetime account of Brain.fm. It’s supposed to be scientifically designed background music that changes the way your brain works, helping you relax, or focus, or even sleep. I’ve heard varying reports, most of them positive. Being of the scientific persuasion, I’m skeptical, but I tried it, it’s been working, and I’ve decided that I don’t want to poke the bubble too hard in case it bursts. Even if it only lasts for a little while, it may be enough to help me retrain myself to focus properly again.
The last thing I did, and this is going to sound ridiculous–is I started taking this seriously. As a business. I had thought I was beforehand, but I was fooling myself. Now, I’ve got some self-published works, and I’ve discovered I love the puzzle of marketing. I also crunched the numbers and figured out what I’d have to make in sales per day in order to live off my books. It’s not as scary a number as I thought it would be. And I recognize now all the voices from my past, who thought writing was a cute hobby and if you have that much spare time, shouldn’t you have a second job or be volunteering somewhere to pad out your resume? (Ignoring the fact that the writing was my third job.) And maybe it’s about time I stopped listening to those voices, and listened to what’s inside me. Maybe I can take a run at this, make a real business out of it. I know I’m happier at the keyboard than I am at the Day Job of Doom. Why not? Right?
So if you’ve been doubting yourself, never forget that it’s okay to take some time and say, “I’m going to treat this like it’s real.” And give yourself a chance, even if it flies in the face of everyone around you.