Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: Why I'm Not Doing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge This Year

It's IWSG day. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about their writerly insecurities and other stuff.

I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the last two years. I enjoyed doing the challenge both times. But this year, I'm not doing it. 

My husband and I are planning a move, and if everything falls into place, we're due to move at the end of this month. As I'm writing this post, I must admit that I haven't packed a single box yet. Not for myself, not for my husband, not for our children. So. Lots of work cut out for me this month. 

So what am I doing instead of packing? I'm working on my novel. I know, I know. I really should start packing. But you know there's that thing writers do when they try to avoid confronting their manuscript, so they get busy cleaning their homes instead? Well, as excited as I am about moving to our new place, I'm not so excited about packing and boxing up everything in my home. So I'm working on my manuscript instead.

I'm still with YA Buccaneers' Spring Writing Bootcamp. In March, I got set up with a lovely writing team called #TeamDenali and a motivating team leader named Heidi Sinnett. While I'm not producing as much as I'd like to, I'm still making progress. But the truth is, once I take off with my moving duties, I know my productivity will take a dive. 

So this is my insecurity. It took me awhile to build up momentum again with my WIP earlier this year, and soon, I'd need to slow down. Once I slow down, it'd take me some more time to build up that momentum again. I often dread that part of the writing process where I'm returning to my manuscript after a period of "slowing down," or sometimes just plain stopping, and I'm trying to get back in the driver's seat. Yes, I can view my WIP with fresh eyes and things I need to fix jump out at me. But no, I can't just make 2,500 words appear out of thin air on the first day back. Or sometimes, not even during the first two weeks after I resume my butt-in-chair nights.

I will begin packing sometime next week.

Are you doing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this year? If so, do you have a theme? If you're not doing the A to Z Challenge, why not?

Any tips on packing for a move?

How do you get back in the driver's seat with your WIP after a period of slowing down?


Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have that same problem with momentum. It's the reason it took me so long to write the first draft of my current WIP -- because I kept getting pulled off it to work on editing/revising the other books in the series. I don't have a solution to offer, because the fact is, I made very little progress on the first draft until the editing jobs went away and I also got 10 snow days off from school (not in a row, but still!) where I could fully concentrate on the book.

As for A to Z, I have never participated because I don't enjoy reading most people's A to Z posts. They don't seem as genuine and from the heart as their normal posts. I prefer posts like this one!

Oh, and packing for a move is like Zeno's Paradox. You can never completely empty a house. You can empty half of it. Then half of the remaining stuff. Then half of what's left after that ... But there's always another drawer or closet to empty every time you turn around.

After awhile, you find yourself leaving gifts for the new owners. That junk drawer you never use? Yeah, it's chock full of things the new owners will need. Better leave it for them.

Pat Hatt said...

Good luck with the move, they are never fun. Packing will go quick though, so write away

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yep, doing A-Z - exciting and nerve-wracking for me since I'm doing flash fiction for every letter of the alphabet. :)

I know what you mean about getting back into a ms after you've been away a bit. One thing that helps me is to think about it somehow - the characters, the setting, something - even if I'm not physically writing it. Keeping it in mind at least makes it a little easier to jump back into the actual writing.

debi o'neille said...

Yes, I am doing A-Z, and this is my first year and I'm shocked at how exhausted I was at the end of the first day yesterday. I am enjoying it, but I'm also worried about keeping up with my regular writing and other duties. The laundry will wait, it always does, but…
And I know what it's like to be away from a work in progress for a long time, and then to try and force yourself back into it. It's happened to me a couple of times, and it wasn't easy. Good luck with that. As for the move, we're helping our daughter move this weekend. I keep sending her tax reminding her to keep packing, because I hope she hasn't saved a lot of that for me. I will be helping her unpack. And I just helped her pack and unpack a year ago, and the other daughter only a month ago. To top that off, I still got boxes unpacked in my garage, from when we moved five years ago. Those boxes waited, because I wanted to catch up with my writing. They are still waiting. :-)
PS – my theme is story ideas from A-Z.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Heck with packing - just write! If you have the momentum, just enjoy.
And the Challenge would've completely overwhelmed you, so good call.

Julie Luek said...

Oh moving is a chore, isn't it? All the best to you-- I hope this is a positive move in your life. And YAY for you for your writing. GO GO GO!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

On maintaining momentum: I try to connect with my manuscript every day. Even if I do nothing more than open it and reread a couple of paragraphs and tweak a couple of words, even if I spend only 10 minutes on it or write only one new sentence, it keeps me in touch with the story. Then the next time I do have a bigger chunk of time (or more energy), I can dive right in without asking myself "What the heck was this book about?" :-)
Good luck moving. That is a huge task, so don't get down on yourself if you do have to step away from writing for a while.

Julie Musil said...

I don't blame you for not wanting to pack. Moving is so tough! Settling back in to a new place is a challenge. At least you have something productive to do (writing) while you procrastinate. Good luck!

John Wiswell said...

Hey, moving and working on a novel are much more important than A-to-Z. Godspeed on both. I'm in the middle of revising many short stories for submission and prepping revisions on my novel before soliciting to agents, so I also don't have the free time to compose all those blog posts. I'm trying to poke in on at least a few of the participants, though!

debi o'neille said...

Tips on packing for a move: Keep lots of chocolate handy. I have done packed and helped people pack so many times and it never gets easier. I start out labeling boxes, then get lazy and don't label a few--and that I always regret.

Shelley Sly said...

I'm not doing the A to Z Challenge either this year, though I had a lot of fun when I did it in the past.

Good luck with your move! Moving really takes a lot out of you, from packing to actually moving to unpacking. Make sure you take care of yourself in between all of that.

Julie Dao said...

You definitely have to give yourself some time to transition back into a story after time away! I totally get how you're feeling. When I finally get back to my NaNo story from last year, it'll be a rocky start for sure. But once you get going, it's the best feeling! I wish you all the best with your move and hope everything goes smoothly :)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Ack, moving is such a chore! No wonder you're writing!! I'm reading like mad right now and it is totally to avoid writing. I definitely find it hard to get back into the swing of things after a lull, and I'm afraid I have no tricks to doing so. Just gotta sit at the blank screen and find your way back sometimes.

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