Meta Monday: Allow me to Kvetch

MetaMondays5A little over a week ago I hurt my knee. It was bothering me when I woke up that morning, but I thought it was just a touch of arthritis. I’m scarcely more than a fetus, of course—far too young for that! But, alas, I do suffer from it now and then.

But so what? Walk it off, I figured.

So I walked to work that day. My day job is a only a mile and a quarter from my house. And the weather was perfect! We were getting our first taste of fall. But halfway through the walk, I knew something was really wrong with my knee. It was too late to turn back, though, so I soldiered on. I made it to work, iced it—and here I am, more than a week later, still nursing it.

That’s more than a week without walking. More than a week without a trip to the gym. More than a week of fervent prayers to our gracious and good Chuck Shurley to get me moving again.

But there was a bright side, I figured. Since I had to stay off my knee, I canceled my weekend plans. Just think of all the time I could spend writing!

I didn’t write during the day on Saturday, though. But I was okay with that. It was Shabbat, after all: the Jewish Sabbath. And while I’m not shomer shabbos—a perfectly observant guardian of Shabbat—it still felt right to give my writing brain a break.

Saturday night, when Shabbat was over, I wrote a little. But Sunday—wow, I would have all day Sunday with no reason and no excuse not to write! Except that’s not what happened.

I did write Sunday night—a little more than my average, but not by much. So what happened? Why did I waste my weekend?

Well, all right, I didn’t waste my weekend. I gobbled up a book that’s been on my to-read list forever: Lamentation by C.J. Samson. I found some new Destiel fics to devour. I lavished attention on my cat. And I caught up with some friends and family.

But why couldn’t I write up a storm?

I haven’t figured out the answer yet. Maybe my Muse needed a vacation as badly as my knee did. Maybe I needed a reminder that daily word counts aren’t everything—that reading and daydreaming and meditating are just as important to a writer. On the other hand, maybe daily exercise is much more important to my writing brain than I realized.

So I’ll throw this out there to anyone else who writes or does any sort of creative work: has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been laid up, with all the time in the world to devote to your chosen craft, and yet not been able to follow through? Let me know! I’m selfishly hoping that I’m not alone in this.

About Jenn Moss

Author * Web Serialist * Virtual Addict
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12 Responses to Meta Monday: Allow me to Kvetch

  1. M.L.S.Weech says:

    I force things a lot be cause I’m such a believer in momentum. That doesn’t mean I haven’t felt it. I do take days off. I gauge them on a few things. The first and foremost is my health. I’m generally a healthy guy, so if I’m sick (Maybe twice or three times a year) or if I’m banged up, I can’t focus very well. I’m self-concious about tweaking something. So, if I read your blog right, you still wrote, you just didn’t “CRUSH” the writing like you thought you would with the extra time. I ebb and flow for a lot of reasons. I have high productivity days. The most I ever wrote in a single day was 10,000 words. (I’m NEVER trying that again!) I’d like to get 3,000 words of work done a day between drafting, outlining and revising, but my current schedule forces me to stay at 1,000 and prioritize. My weekends and leave days have become an attempt at gaining balance. I guess the simple answer is yes, I have days like that all the time. But I do make it a point to hit my minimum word count. Once I do that, I don’t force it. I’ll never try to write/edit/outline more than 5,000 in a day. I’m worthless after that point anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jenn Moss says:

      No, sadly, there was no crushing on my part! You’re right, though. I did make my daily goals.

      (I aim to average between 500 and 1,000 word a day in any given month. I

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jenn Moss says:

        Ack! Continuing since I hit “send” too soon:

        (. . . I’ve never hit a 10k day. I think 5k was my biggie. 😉)

        That said–yeah. I might have set an unreasonable goal, especially for days when I wasn’t feeling my best. But I like your solution too: on days like that, it might be best to focus on my regular daily goal and then rest up.

        Like

  2. I’ve learned that my writing will dissolves when something like my health, house guests or special events arises. I become distracted. It’s harder to focus and bear down, and I’m much much willing to ease my discipline and let myself goof off.

    Hope all is well soon. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Quintessential Editor says:

    Matt mentioned his daily word count in his comment, and when I got serious about writing I emulated his example. I blasted out at least 2000 words a day and that worked for me, at first. However, as time progressed I found myself hating the process. Instead of looking forward to writing, I was looking at it as a chore.

    Now there is merit to looking at it as a chore. If I want to be a professional I need to do what professionals do, and that is write even when I don’t feel like it. But my writing seems to gain a level of clarity and emotional value when my mind, spirit, and body are united in the fight.

    With that being said, if I am in the pits with my writing, I still write. I just drop the word count goals *significantly*. For me, I gain confidence when I set obtainable goals. I also make concessions. If I’m going to write less than 500 words then I am going to improve another aspect of the book. I’ll think about cover art, chapter icons (Matt has some beautiful ones), character development, or outlining.

    I also count my blog as part of my writing goals. Since I blog about writing, I tend to treat most of my content as professional research and/or marketing. Even if I only write a couple hundred words toward a current WIP, if I can manage to grind out a decent blog post and increase my understanding of a concept of the craft, then I go to bed knowing I’m slightly more informed than when I woke up.

    Health and sleep are probably two of biggest things that govern my writing. If baby Thor has been beating the anvil all day, and through the night, it’s a fools errand for me to try to write. Sure I can still manage word counts, but I’ll hate the grind and also pay for it in re-writes.

    I also try to pack writing into days where my wife will be home. As she doesn’t get to spend as much time with Thor, I step back and retreat to my writing cave. Much like you mentioned though, there have been plenty of times where I look forward to these distraction-free moments and find myself unable to produce. When it happens, I try to quickly reassess my writing goal and move past it.

    As for fitness, I try to do some cardio (elliptical in the living room) every morning to clear the cobwebs and keep myself from turning into the Michelin Man. This also gives me a chance to catch up on reading. I’ve noticed a down-tick in productivity when I miss those days. So from my perspective, I think health links right into the mental aspect like you suggested.

    With all this being said, I hope your knee gets to feeling better. Health should be top priority in my opinion so take your time and recover.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn Moss says:

      Thanks Corey!

      First off, the knee is much better, thanks. I’m still staying off of it, but I hope to be able to get some mild work outs in by this weekend. Hopefully that will help my productivity. 🙂

      I love your broad view of what counts as part of a daily word count. And I agree–my blog posts are part of my whole writing process, so they should count. (And working on my outline for a story definitely counts.)

      Meanwhile, gratz for getting any writing done with a small child in the house! I try to spend as much time as possible with my young nieces. And I love every minute of it, but the laptop almost never comes out. So even without being a parent, I’ve had a taste of how carefully parents need to budget their time–and how fast plans can change.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the words of encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m easily distracted, so if I’m in pain I can find it very hard to focus. I was ill following a tooth extraction and instead of writing I mostly slept. Got some thinking done, however, which has led to writing. So all in all, I still feel like I accomplished something. I also managed to still get my post done thay day, which is my only daily writing goal. As long as I get something done, it’s a good thing.

    Hope the knee gets better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn Moss says:

      Yikes! The knee was painful, but the tooth extraction is a whole different animal. (A way more excruciating animal.) You might be right though. Maybe genuine rest is the answer for both, not trying to force more writing to happen.

      Thanks for sharing this–I’m glad I’m not alone when it comes to writing while injured. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Doesn’t sound to me like you wasted your weekend at all! You had a much needed rest, got some reading done, spent time with family and friends including cat and got more writing done on Sunday than you would usually.

    I think what you said about reading, thinking and meditating being important to a writer is right. Reading other writers is part of the writer’s business. In order to have stories to pour forth, we need to have stories going in to nourish inspiration, whether drawn from reading, watching films, interacting with family and friends or listening in to the conversation of the people talking in the seat behind you in the train. Like a field we need fallow periods for ideas to germinate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn Moss says:

      “Like a field we need fallow periods for ideas to germinate.”

      Oooh, good point. Yes, I need my quiet, meditative, day-dreaming time. I need to give new ideas the time to come to fruition.

      Looking back, I’m starting to feel good about all that reading time–it’s been a while since I, uh, binge-read. Too long. And sometimes that’s where the best ideas start: while reading someone else’s story. I don’t want to write a book set in Tudor England, as C.J. Sansom does, but I love the big issues he addresses, and I’m inspired to explore them in other ways.

      Thanks for helping me feel better about this!

      Liked by 1 person

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