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I Stopped Writing: Day 1 of My 500 Words

In all the hustle and wait, and hustle and wait of self publishing my YA science fiction novel, I’ve done something a writer should never do. I stopped writing.

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That’s me, not writing.

My ongoing problem with the novel is that because Jeremy Kerr dot com was already taken, I went with the domain name (and therefore, brand) Jeremy W Kerr. However, somewhere along the way, my cover illustrator forgot about that (AND the name of the book series), just put Jeremy Kerr on the cover, and has now quietly slipped away without answering any more of my emails. In her defense, there were some real problems going on with her family that she shared with me, and I’m sure she’s dealing with those. I am aware that sometimes life has a way of knocking the door down, bullying its way inside, ruining the carpet, and refusing to leave, no matter how many first-time authors want you to add a “W” to a cover.

But on my side, I have a good understanding of marketing, creating a brand, all that stuff, so if I’m going to embrace Jeremy W. Kerr, I kinda really want it to be on my very first novel ever. Is that too much to ask?

There’s a voice in my head that’s saying, are you sure you aren’t just stalling? Aren’t just making up excuses? To which I reply, “Shut up, Denise!”

You see, Denise isn’t the name of the voice in my head. It IS the voice in my head…the voice of a real person. A friend who has been my biggest advocate/support/drill sergeant since around 2009.

To Denise and anyone else asking if I’m just making excuses, my answer is…yeah, I might be. But not because I don’t believe Runaways is a good book. Not because I’m scared. It’s because, being a little obsessive compulsive combined with knowing a lot about doing things correctly, I don’t want to hit “Publish” until I am fully satisfied I did everything I could to make this book as good as possible.

……….I derailed somewhere.
My original point was that as I’ve focused so much time and energy to the self publishing part of writing, I have forgotten to write.

Which brings me to this: my500words.com. Today is my first day at an attempt to create a writing habit of writing at least 500 words a day for 31 days. Too often I focus on “I don’t have anything to write” instead of “I should just write something to stay in the practice.” Today’s optional prompt is about committing to the plan and broadcasting that to my little section of the world. (Y’all…does it ever stagger you when you think about the fact that we’re ALL on this one planet together, and we’re kind of all the same, and it’s only opinions that create wars and destroy people, and that’s pretty dumb?)

So this blog post is my Day 1 of My 500 Words. Although there’s no judgment from the Words community online, there IS support. So if you happen to decide to follow along with what I’m doing, and you see I’ve missed a day or (500 WORDS!) two, copy/paste this next bit into text message, email, Facebook, Twitter, whatever, and give me some encouragement:

I saw you missed a day of writing. I encourage you to pick up where you left off.

By the way, that encouragement applies to you, as well! Whatever it is you want to be doing, whether it’s writing, knitting, painting, jogging, reading, being nicer to people, no matter what it is, I encourage you to pick up where you left off.

Leave a comment below and tell us one thing you want to be more consistent about. Even just letting others know about your commitment can be the kick in the pants you need to start on that path.

(For those keeping score at home, I hit 640 words before this sentence.)

10 Comments

  1. What if where I left off is with doing the dishes, and it refuses to stay done once I do it. Your 500 words won’t mysteriously disappear…..they will stay written…so I guess I should choose something else to work on. Like sewing or organizing that huge crafts room that you are jealous of (and yes, that ends with a preposition). Anyway, you keep on writing, and working on that W. and lets get our “things” done.

    • Yeah, chores aren’t really what I’m talking about. Except that tomorrow’s 500 words won’t be there until I write them, so that’s kind of like those dishes being there until you make them disappear each day 🙂 It’s not about “have I written 500 words at some point?” It’s about “have I written my 500 words today?” Yesterday’s accomplishment isn’t the point. It’s about focusing on keeping that accomplishment in motion.

  2. I want to be more consistent at being consistent… seriously. Glad you joined the 500 word movement. Looking forward to reading more.

  3. Jeremy, I appreciate this post. (Especially the subtle Lebowski reference near the top. Or am I projecting?) Either way, best of luck and keep us posted on your progress.

  4. I like being consistent about being consistent. I tend to be very disjointed, filling my time with so much I get overwhelmed and then do nothing. 500 words has helped me focus on this point and stay focused. I love my writing, so now I’m prioritizing the other things in my life and I’m getting twice the amount of tasks done. Welcome aboard, you bring a new texture to the group.

  5. I struggle with finding the time to write. I average about 1000 a week. Blog post happens every Tue. I admire the every day writer.

    • I’ve done NaNaWriMo (writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November) a number of times, but this is my first attempt at daily writing for the purpose of daily writing only. With NaNo, you should average 1,167 words/day, but of course when I’m on a roll, I frequently get 5-6,000 words written…but then I take a few days off because the pressure of 50k is so high. Plus, by working on a novel, all focus needs to be on that plot. With My 500 Words, each day gets to be whatever it wants to be. I really like that.

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