Creative Challenge: February Update

It’s time to check-in with our Creative Challenge progress!

Creative Challenge February-March Update vertical

Creative Challenge Progression by the Numbers

As of March 5 2019, I have seven out of eight stories and/or scenes accounted for. I feel like I lost one somewhere in there, so perhaps it’s seven out of nine? I’ll have to go back and count, and just so you know, math was never a strong subject for me. I may fail to bother.

For the first leg of the challenge, I decided to attempt to finish my Nanowrimo novel. The goal I set, originally, was one chapter per week. One chapter usually contains three or four scenes, so meeting this goal is not a trivial task, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t late by a day or two with some of these updates. A chapter a week, however, means I finish the project before June.

Then the wrist pain started.

This is Not the Challenge I Envisioned

Wrist pain isn’t normal for me. I’ve spent most of my free time at the computer for… well, a very long time, let’s put it that way. I type a lot, obviously. Sometimes I click around in Photoshop, because I’m a noob and I only know basic hotkeys. I’m a gamer, which can be a clicky, keyboard-intensive activity. These days, I have a job that involves a lot of repetitive data entry, which probably doesn’t help, but that also isn’t new. The pain is.

This means that writing more than a few paragraphs at a time is almost impossible, Writing isn’t all I have to do; I also have to take work into account when I ration hand usage. Chopping vegetables for dinner is a challenge. Today’s entry was written in stages.

Proper planning can offset the writing issue. For instance, if I know I can only do five or six paragraphs at a time, I must make sure I get them done every day. Whether thirty-five paragraphs equals one scene depends on the scene, but at least I’d end the week with solid progress. I didn’t plan last week, and so I missed the deadline. RIP.

Reassessing My Goals

When discussing reassessment with my accountability partner, I decided initially that one scene per week was more than enough as long as the pain persists. That’s true to the original challenge. If you hop back to the Creative Challenge: 52 in 2019 introductory post, you’ll see my goal was “one story or scene per week,” which leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

But then she asked me a question: “Is it important to you to meet your goal and finish this novel by June?”

That’s a loaded question. Do I definitely want to finish this novel before June?

Is finishing this novel by June more important than meeting other goals–like revising another story for Writers of the Future, revising my October entry for resubmission (or possibly submission elsewhere), and making progress with the story submission process in general?

Finishing this novel is important–for personal development, if for no other reason, since I’m not sure it’s a viable professional project. But spending half a year of my creative time to do this–time that is not as plentiful as it used to be–means I’ve dropped those other goals for six months. And those goals came first. Meeting those goals allows me to move forward with a personal challenge I’ve struggled with for a long time: submitting stories to professional markets. Like, at all. That story I mentioned sending to the contest last year? It was ready at least a year prior to that. Avoidance is my middle name.

If I can’t overcome that challenge, having a novel draft won’t mean much, except that I finally finished one. However… that’s not an unimportant milestone, either. I don’t finish novel drafts very often.

New Goals

The original challenge doesn’t leave much room for revision drafts, unless they’re complete rewrites. Scenes count, I guess. And there’s always flash fiction, which I’m terrible at, and which would be a humbling experience.

So, new goals:

  • Decide what to focus on: short stories/contests/publications, or novel draft. Have a plan by April’s update post.
  • Try to meet March’s weekly goals with some flash fiction, or some other kind of bite-sized (but finished) work of fiction.
  • Figure out what the fuck is up with my wrists.

And that’s it until April.

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