Welcome to another exciting update in which stuff is going on!
Apparently we just blew through a whole month without my noticing which would worry me more if I wasn’t knee deep in the hoopla as those kids from Starship say (and by kids, I mean, probably senior citizens by now). But as the month is really and truly over now, it’s time once again to look at the past month of Hillary Writes All The Things and see how the words went.
Here’s what January 2017 looked like in writing…
Total Words Written This Month
Average Words Per Day
My goal for the month was 16,940, which is all I would have needed to be on pace with my less goal this year.
98,484/200,000 words (49%)
- A brand new short comedy I’ll tell you more about soon
Other Works Actively in Progress this Month:
- Moving and other big life changes that have nothing to do with writing other than it takes away time from it
How did January 2017 stack to up past years?
I don’t normally start out with the year by year comparison but I think it’s worth doing this time because it tells a story. Namely, that January is always an uneven month. I either start out writing like gangbusters and then do nothing the rest of the month or start out really slow and then wake up and power through to the end. This year was the latter.
My plan for the month was to not worry about writing and just focus on all the big life stuff happening (move is finally GO, we should be in the new house in a few days finally, yay!!!). Instead, I ended up with the second biggest January ever in terms of word count but, as the graph shows, that all happened in the latter half of the month. What happened?
This. On January 6th, I was asked to pitch a play for an upcoming publication. I had two works in progress that would fit the topic they were looking for, but both were for a much older demographic so I couldn’t use them. I spent several days brainstorming, trying to come up with something I could write and finally arrived on an idea I thought I could work with. I pitched it.
My pitch was approved on January 18th. They needed the final play by February 1st. Thirteen days. Well, I handed it in the night before so I guess 12 days. Remember all that pitch to publication craziness from July? At least that I went into with solid ideas and more time. This was, without a doubt, the fastest turn-around I’ve done from literal inception of idea to finished product. And under all sorts of crazy duress because of life stuff (between move, and my, ahem, condition, and both the toddler and I being sick as HECK, there were many of those 12 days I never got a chance to work on it at all). And it was with an idea I had to write somewhat backwards and mold on the fly, as opposed to being one of those ideas you’ve just got to get out because the muse is on fire for it and hands it over fully formed. And, of course, democracy is crashing down around us which is sort of distracting when you’re trying to write a lighthearted comedy. I lost many writing sessions to the two-headed coin of worrying about the news and activism.
Trying to write a comedy right now, the state of the world being what it is, feels like trying to tap dance in cement shoes. #amwriting
— Hillary DePiano (@HillaryDePiano) January 25, 2017
“You’ll get it done. You always do,” people kept saying to me as I lamented how impossible it seemed. And I did get it done. Is it inspiring or discouraging to have the people around you totally blase about your ability to do the impossible? I’m genuinely not sure. I’m glad they have faith in me but also sympathy is nice sometimes.
But yet again, when I got it done, it felt like this:
The bad? I have some regrets. Namely that the play I originally wanted to write was going to end up being way too long so I had to hack out an entire plot at the last minute. It meant prioritizing wacky comedy over topical substance (when I was hoping to go for both) but such is life sometimes. I won’t be surprised if the plot I cut becomes it’s own thing someday, they always seem to do that, but, times being what they are, it felt like I was letting the world down by going for the lesser version of what I planned. That said, I am only human and I wrote this very fast in complete life chaos so I refuse to beat myself up for only churning out something great instead of something perfect.
The good? Well, for starters, this touches on my writing White Whale again (my ability to turn a fiction pitch into a final product on a super tight deadline), this time with everything accelerated and the difficulty level higher and I still pulled it off again under EVEN MORE stress and pressure than last time. Yay me. Every time you pull off the impossible, it makes it easier to do the next time because there’s that precedent to back it up.
Also, the fact that I thought I was done writing for a long while and yet, here I am with a brand new Thing ready for release a few months into 2017 is pretty nifty. I also touched on a bunch of other halfway decent ideas while brainstorming for this one that will hopefully get fleshed out in the future. Plus the resulting play, even if it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be in the beginning, is a lot of fun and something I’m proud to unleash on an unsuspecting world soon.
Oh, and the fact that I got this whole thing done in so little time with ALL the crap going in my life right now? Not gonna lie, makes me feel pretty darn badass. Maybe I do know how to write after all!
Really, seriously for real taking that break from writing to catch my breath! Probably. I hope.
Honestly? If there’s one thing the last few months have shown me is that, no matter what my intentions, both the writing habit I’ve built up and where my career is now ensures that I’m never going to really be able to step away from writing altogether. Even if I say I’m going to take it easy, I’ll still be writing in some form, even though that’s going to have to slow down in the immediate future with the upcoming chaos.
I’m still hoping to have 4th Orange done sooner than later. I’m still hoping to rewrite the MG novel before another year passes. I’m not going to say no to opportunities such as the play discussed above if they are within the realm of possible and good for my career.
That said, there’s a reason I’m 50% done with my writing goal for the year but not upping it and that’s because I’m a realist and changes are a comin’. I wanted to build myself a cushion because the future is truly unpredictable so I don’t want to count on writing time. This play may well be the only thing I finish this year and, if that proves true, so be it. My brain’s being pulled in a lot of different directions and focus is hard to come by for a dozen reasons, which makes things like editing and big picture plot fixes much harder than usual. On the plus side, knowing I can and have done the fiction thing under duress gives me a nice boost of confidence going forward.
In a non-writing context, what’s up next is moving. Packing our entire life in boxes and starting a new adventure. Settling into a new nest and then seeing what comes along next. Like the song says, Moving Right Along.
(Shaking this unending cold would also be nice.)
Change is bittersweet. There are always things you’ll miss as you say goodbye to a part of your life, no matter how excited you are for the future. It’s scary, especially when what you already have is good. But it’s a leap that can mean bigger and better things and isn’t that a big part of leveling up? Getting to the next level where you can fight the bigger and badder bosses? Embracing new challenges because it gets you that much closer to the level after that and your ultimate goal?
It’s a mix of emotions. I have no idea what upcoming events will mean for my future or the future of my writing. But I’m going to keep on moving anyway and see where it takes me.