And on Day 688

688 days. After I finish this entry, I’ll have put down over 510,000 words over the span of those days. Some have gone to first drafts, others to second or sixth drafts. Some have gone to the stories for the last of the Secret World Chronicle books. Some have gone to outlines and character studies for new stories. A good portion of them went to Broken, and many of them went into blog entries like this one.

But there won’t be an 689, more than likely. As one of those academics who teaches time management and study skills, I can’t maintain that writing habit on a daily basis with the spreadsheet while studying for my comprehensive exams. I kept both last year during the first attempt, and it didn’t go very well. My success depends on my prioritizing my academics from now until February, which means time is going to be allocated to studying and review.

I can’t give up writing, mind you. It’s a fact of my writing life that the best ideas come to me when I’m up to my eyeballs in academic silliness. At the same time, a nod to the Magic Spreadsheet has represented a conscious acknowledgement of writing as a priority, a habit that must be cultivated and indulged in order to improve. For the next six weeks, it can’t be the priority. If I have the time to study or write, the former must happen. I’ve blogged about the exams before. They’re important. Getting closer to the doctorate gives me more freedom to write and record, but the exams are the last big hurdle. And while I’m a good little academic, I’m not so good that I can avoid studying.

Am I a failure for having to stop? Hell no. Am I less of a writer? I don’t think so. This exercise has been wonderful, and it has cemented the habit and practice of writing no matter what into my daily routine. I will likely feel horribly guilty for not making the time to write during the day, that’s just how I am. I’ll glance over at my notebook and think about the next page of the outline I’m finishing, or I’ll look at the next SWC story where I’m doing terrible things to [redacted] and wonder how much the readers will cry when the scene goes to print and ‘cast.

Still, comps must be passed. Studying must be done. And, words will have to wait a little while.

Not for too long, though. Writers write. We can’t help ourselves. I kept writing even when I was in a full cast for carpal tunnel, sitting up in bed late at night with a notebook and pen to scribble more of a story that would not leave my head. If a good story comes to mind, I’ll put it down for later, but I won’t be doing the daily words for the next six weeks.

688, though. That’s something.

EDIT: So, it appears that the consensus from others is that any writing should count, including the notetaking that I’m doing for comprehensive exams. And so, the streak continues.

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 13th, 2014 at 9:06 pm and is filed under writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “And on Day 688”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    I wish I could claim to be surprised. I really do. However, my own experience with graduate school made it seem partly a test to see if I could focus as tightly as I need to do to meet the required tests and assignments. I had more than a little trouble – primarily due to health and handicaps – and I was only going for a masters.

    I know they ask even more of that for a doctor’s, and from what Dad says, they ask the most during the comprehensives and the orals. So yeah, things you thought you’d always have time for need to slide while you’re preparing for these tests. But you don’t have quite a month and a half to go. After that, you’re out of this tunnel. You’re really close to a long reprieve. Keep going. You can make it. {Sympathetic Smile, take hand, squeeze}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Doc Coleman Says:

    688 is impressive. But if you need to break the streak, break it, and don’t worry over it. I think at this point you’ve pretty much proven that you have the discipline to write every day.

    As to the question of “does taking notes count for my word count?”, I think that depends on what kind of notes you take. Copying something shouldn’t count. I like applying the copyright test. If your notes are an original expression of the materiel, such that you’d copyright it if it were a textbook and not notes, then it counts.

    Honestly, it doesn’t matter if the words count or not. You’ve aimed at a bigger target, and I have faith you’ll hit it.

    *shaking pom-poms*

    Doc