A Month in a Writer’s Life – March 2017

Before I even realized, another month passed by. After not so positive February, I was hoping to catch up with my projects, finish things from my to-do list, and be generally more productive than I was. How did it go? In short: not bad, though definitely not as well as I hoped for.

The first week of March was my Birthday Week, so I allowed myself a bit of leniency, but since it felt like February’s negative aura is trying to linger, I tried to push myself through it. I also realized that unexpectedly, my obligations towards people started growing, and even though I didn’t struggle yet, they slowly started overwhelming me, contributing to tiredness and feeling of being behind all the time. So, my first step was to cut on anything that wasn’t “urgent”, “important”, or of personal value to me. Even though I had to let go of some things I’d rather keep, it was a good move. I felt the pressure going away and became confident I could catch up with all the things I started to fall behind with.

As a result, I not only hit my monthly word count with much less struggle than the previous month, but I also wrote every day. I really wanted to work on some bigger project again, but with the revising and editing of the already existing drafts, I didn’t give in the temptation, and instead got my words in some smaller projects, like blog posts and short stories.
Speaking of editing, I didn’t do as much of it as I wanted to, but I added over 14 hours to my yearly total, and have crossed the 40 hours mark. Not bad for the first quarter of the year.

I didn’t do much art either, though I’ve finished my kraken tentacles, and cleaned up a piece of old artwork: a dragon emblem colored in Photoshop some years ago. As usually, I added all art to the Society 6 and Redbubble stores where it’s available as t-shirts, phone skins, tote bags, and more.

When it comes to entertainment, I haven’t been playing much, though in search for inspiration, I dug out one of my games Kingdoms of Amalur: the Reckoning, mostly for its rich story and mesmerizing worldbuilding; it’s also a game that has an interesting twist on the fae story with its Courts of Summer and Winter. I also tried starting several tv series, but nothing seems to keep my and Inq’s attention, and we ended up re-watching another anime, Samurai 7.

So far, two months in the year of daily writing.

Sadly, I only read one book in March, so I’m already two books behind in my Goodreads challenge, but I’ve been reading some short stories, so my month wasn’t entirely bookless. Also, thanks to Angry Robot’s great sale on the International Women’s Day: women authors’ ebooks for one pounds each, I got some first books in the series I was planning to check (I only got book one of each: if I like the series, I’ll happily pay the full price for the rest). So far, I’ve read Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells, and even though I’ve found comparisons to Dune a bit far-fetched (the only thing the books definitely have in common is the setting: a desert planet), the book was definitely interesting and entertaining.

But the area I definitely did the best in March is working out. For the past months I was struggling with my exercise as in general I find it boring and contrary to some people’s claims, physical activity doesn’t make me feel better or happier (but more tired and hungry). On one hand, I wasn’t regular with it anymore, on the other, lack of progress coming from it was feeding my discouraged approach, and I found myself in the middle of a vicious circle. I decided to change things. To give myself motivation, I changed my approach from “30 minutes on the elliptical” to “certain distance reached”, the one I knew I can reach in that 30 minutes (supposedly it’s 7 miles, but it sure doesn’t feel like it). This motivated me, because it meant the faster I go, the sooner I’d be done with the workout. I still timed myself as I wanted to notice progress: from 30 minutes I dropped to 23-25 minutes (and even 22 on very good days).

On top of the change in my approach, I also challenged myself to be consistent. In a way, for “scientific” purposes: if in 3 months of daily workout I can’t feel or see the difference, at least I have a valid argument against it. It worked like a charm. After I set it up, I haven’t missed a single day, and ended March with 26 consecutive days of exercise: much more than I’ve ever had since I started working out last year. It’s still too early to gauge the effects (though my husband claims I definitely started looking slimmer and my muscles feel more firm), and I still hate the workout as much as I did, but at least I get to build my habit.

I’ve reached the quarter of my yearly goal!

All in all, my March was quite good, and even though I wish I’ve been editing some more, and I’ve read more books, but I can’t complain. This month was much more positive than February, and this is what’s important. How was your March?

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. sjhigbee

    Go you! Never mind about the niggling over wanting to do a tad more editing – writing every day and effortlessly hitting your target is a major step. Because at the end of the day, you want to write seriously and the only way that’s going to happen as if you… write! And congratulations on the kraken, which I think looks absolutely awesome.

    Another huge milestone – nailing your fitness. I’m so impressed with your level-headed, intelligent response. You don’t like doing it, but know it’s important so you have continued to work around this to make it sufficiently palatable that you are now sticking to it. I think this has been a really excellent month for you. Well done!

    1. melfka

      Thank you, Sarah, for your kind comment. The sad part is that I lowered my daily wordcount target (to 500) to have more time for editing, but there’s definitely something that is not working if I’m not editing enough. I guess my next step would be figuring it out. 🙂

      1. sjhigbee

        Hm. It may well be that when you are writing creatively on one project, you find it difficult to edit something else. I’m aware you are far more effective at multi-tasking than I am, but they both require higher level skills and sub-conscious processing away from the task. I simply don’t have the brainpower to do both simultaneously and produce my best work – and I’m not really interested in producing anything else.

        1. Melfka

          I’m not sure that’s the problem: so far I had no trouble switching or focusing. My mind jumps between the stories with ease. I think it might have been my “laziness”: editing is tedious (because like you, I strive for the best outcome possible), so (sadly) I tend to procrastinate it a lot. I think I need to be more disciplined about it.

  2. J.R.Bee

    Half the battle is carving good habits for yourself, it looks like this month you certainly started to nail that one 🙂

    1. melfka

      Thanks, Bee. Doing my best (at least trying to).

      1. J.R.Bee

        And that’s all we can do in the end 🙂

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