Reflections on November: writing target and poems

Lockdown II: The Return (as I am calling it although I notice that all the cool kids call it Lockdown 2.0, oh well), coincided almost with the beginning of November and I had two biggest projects or shall we say targets for the month. One was to participate in Nanowrimo and the other was to post a poem a day for the whole of Lockdown, which ended up being 28 days. So how did I get on?

My writing record

Nanowrimo

So the purpose of this is to write the “shitty first draft” of a novel in a month. You need to average about 1700 words a day if writing every day and then around 2300 if writing 5 days. I set out to write every day and had a novel idea. I have never in my life had a novel idea before, or to be precise a novel writing idea. I might have had some novel ideas. Anyway, I think it is fair to say that I was a bit ambitious! I blocked out time in my diary for all the weekdays but the 1st fell on a weekend and I wrote precisely nothing. I then wrote about 700 words in the first slot on the weekday and thought “I am not sure this is what I really want to be spending my time on”! As well as realising that I needed to allocate a lot more time to writing the target number of words. By this time I had already started to think about writing a poem a day so I decided to change my target. Instead I would commit to writing 500 words a day. 500 work related words Monday to Friday and then whatever else on the weekend. I tracked my word count and it was fascinating how much this intention actually focused me to write. When I say “work-related” words I do not mean emails. Instead, they had to be developmental or project based, so things that counted were video or podcast scripts, contributions to articles or reviews, strategy documents or work related blogs. Despite thinking that I did not do that much of this, some days I wrote more than 2000 words. Amazing. I even found myself writing a bit of my novel one weekend. Albeit not much, but the novel is not going anywhere and I think I may attempt to progress it in 2021. Once I started to write I wanted to write more and got faster. In the end I averaged 781 words a day and wrote a whopping 23,434 words. Amazing. I am quite blown away by this and how much I have enjoyed it. I have definitely achieved this target! So some intentions now:

  • consider Nanowrimo 2021
  • write regularly every week – set aside two or so slots

A poem a day

Poetry bookshelf – bit depleted!

For the 28 days of Lockdown II I shared a poem a day. I really enjoyed doing this. Well mostly. Towards the end I did flag a bit and as work things happened, I found myself posting super late a night. There were only a couple of days when I really struggled though. I wish I had had more of my poetry books from my Mum’s house here as although the glorious Internet is of course stuffed full of poems, there is nothing like flicking through a physical book, I find, to gain inspiration. I was amazed at how much poetry had played a part in my life and how I associated various poems with people or places. I found this quite emotionally moving at times as well as providing some solace at a pretty weird time. I also discovered some new poets and read some poems that I had long been meaning to read. So all in all I definitely achieved this objective and found it really worthwhile and fulfilling. Some intentions on this theme:

  • share a weekly poem on the blog – starting next week
  • get my poetry books and read more poems in 2021!

I have found that pursuing both these targets, in a relatively low stress way, has actually increased my creativity and focus, which are both very positive and have really helped in this unsettling and frustrating period. I need to remember this in the long winter days to come.

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