September 2020 Retro

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After about three months of being completely thrown off my game and disorganized due to packing, moving, and…unfortunate life events…I am finally back! Let’s see what that looks like:

Best (tracked) month yet!

Monthly Totals

Total words written: 19,210
Days missed: 1 (not including scheduled breaks)
Average WPD (words per day): ~835.2

Last Month’s Goals

  • Writing space setup
  • ClickUp
  • Research for novel

How’d I do on these goals? Well…not as good as I expected. I did not finish setting up my writing space, and I think that might just have to wait for when I am free to work on it without worrying about my day job getting in the way. I will probably need to move all of my stuff out of the office when I go to paint the rest of the room anyhow, so I should wait until I can do that.

Clickup now organizes all my writing work and for some parts of my home life. My spouse introduced me to the program, but we were slow to get him “onboarded” for the house. Now that he is, he’s working on getting that organized more than I am.

Research…well…I did say that was going to be a stretch goal. I planned on doing all my research and then work on my characters, setting, and plot after, but I also needed to work on those enough to write the prep articles as well (that was kind of a “duh” moment, honestly). But this translates into not being behind at all! I’m done with the books I had originally meant to study and have already gotten a big chunk of planning for the novel underway. I think I’m on schedule as far as NaNo goes, so I’m not too worried. 

What Went Well

file cabinets
Photo by Element5 Digital on
  • First and foremost, I am BACK ON TRACK for writing down my word counts for the day! Due to all the chaos of the past few months, I completely dropped the ball on it, but I’m writing them down every day now to keep track of my progress.  
  • I also used ClickUp to sort out my goals for the year (adjusted due to circumstances), and ended up being really inspired to get back to work. This did kind of lead to a bit of burnout, which I’ll talk more about in the next section. 
  • At the beginning of the month, I did some proofreading/editing on a friend’s short story and it opened my eyes to how I need to start editing my own work. I think this really pushed me because I edited his and then immediately went into editing my own. The difference was quite stark. I will be writing about this once NaNoWriMo is over, so keep an eye out for it in December!
  • A couple more submissions have been sent out to lit mags (already added to the site), and I am obsessively checking to see their status every day.
  • I have gotten back on track with journaling as well…sorta. I have kind of been slacking the past week because of life stress getting in the way, but it is something that I am slowly building the habit back up to do regularly.
  • Every post for the rest of the year is now decided. I should be able to just sit and write it out. November will be mostly NaNo updates, but before and after will be writing or retro related. 
  • FINALLY, I have started watching YouTube videos about writing and how to do it better. There is a course that is basically “writing basics” at BYU that is blowing my mind, and then some author channels that are mostly small lists of tips per video. I don’t have much of a formal education as far as creative writing goes minus what everyone did in highschool, so I feel like I am learning so much more this way.

I told you, burst of motivation. It’s been crazy.

Lessons Learned

Haelga (left) and Frederick (and Spleen, the succulent) chillin.
  • TAKE BREAKS. I think I said this last month or the month before, but I get a little carried away sometimes. There is a calendar on my desk, however, that I write my daily word counts on, and I’ve started marking what days I’m going to take a break through the month, so hopefully this will get me to do it. I also occasionally have a lazy weekend because right now is crazy, so I need it.
  • Another thing I have done is set a timer to go off twice a day to remind me to get up and stretch or exercise. I put it off the past week and a half and I am now paying for it. I was barely able to get into bed last night and get out of it this morning due to back pain. I would say I finally learned my lesson, but honestly this is the second time this has happened. We’ll see. One day I’ll figure it out (I hope).
  • Reading recharges my brain! I picked up Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey (again, finally) and I found that reading something really interesting, engaging, and fun is a great way for my brain to rest and recharge after nearly burning myself out all over again. 

Goals or Action Items for Next Month

  • October is all about prepping for NaNoWriMo, honestly. I think that will be my biggest priority, other than making sure to get the rest of the Prepapalooza articles out for you fine peeps.
  • NaNo prep means figuring out a basic plot, the main characters (including antagonist(s)), and the logic of the world (which goes into worldbuilding – I’ll talk more on that later). 
  • I also have a couple of extra books that I’ve found for research that I want to take a peek at. I’m hoping to have everything I need by the end of October to at least get a basic, terrible first draft by the end of November.

Those are all the goals I’m really going to worry about for next month. There’s a lot going on at my day job that is stressing me the hell out (on top of, y’know, the world ending), so I need to not push myself too hard right now. There will definitely be time for that later. 

If you have goals you’re keeping to this month or completed last month, I’d love to hear about them – but I also want to hear about how you’re taking care of yourself through these crazy times. Have you been taking breaks? Journaling? Exercising? Binge-playing video games?