Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey

Updates & More Updates

For the last two and a half years, I have participated in a blog hop in which a group of writers pile updates on our blogs and toss out cheers and support and what not. It started in August 2013, coordinated by a med student who wanted help making significant progress on her story while she was on break, and some 30 writers or so updated our progress every Saturday that month.

People enjoyed it so much (some people) that about half of the original number wanted to do it again. So on the med student’s next break, we did it for two months: December 2013 and January 2014, after which the med student and about half of the second number decided to keep going and do monthly progress updates together on the last Saturday of every month, which I’ve been doing for almost exactly two years.

Long story short, I’m not doing it anymore. There are many reasons for this. I could break it down, but the main fact of the matter is that I didn’t want to do it anymore. The biggest problem I had is that for some reason, paying this much attention to the progress I was making (or lack thereof) was messing me up.

The thing about NaNoWriMo, if I participate, is that I’m only paying attention for a month. After November, I can go back to doing what I always do, whatever that is.

But what happened with the work-in-progress marathon updates is that I was ALWAYS paying attention. I started using NaNo spreadsheets throughout the entire year to keep up with how many hours I was writing and how much I wrote in that time.

The first thing I dropped was the time-thing. It made me feel like I was writing really slow, which was just making me crazy. The next thing I dropped was keeping up with my daily word counts entirely.

I know it works for some people, but again, it just made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. It’s helpful during NaNoWriMo because it lets me know how far ahead I am, which helps me relax, and if I’m not ahead, it keeps me writing everyday, at least, which is fine for a month because it’s fun and shakes things up.

However, paying that much attention to my progress all the time was driving me crazy. My sister had mentioned it to me a couple of times before (or several times), how I started stressing out about updates and what not (which is entirely NOT the point of doing them), but you know I didn’t listen. Haha…

Besides, I like supporting people, and once it got down to a smaller number of participants, it’s not like it was super stressful. I mean, trying to comment on 30 odd blogs in a day was driving me crazy, I don’t know how other people do it, but ten-ish? That was far, far more manageable.

However, I finally decided that it wasn’t worth it. As you may or may not know, I’m doing some writing, so, to protect my projects, I’m not tracking my progress anymore other than to occasionally update my word ticker in the sidebar, because I LOVE updating the word ticker!

Seeing the percentage finished go up just 1% makes me feel like I’ve done something in a way that writing 20k in a month can’t. I have won NaNo twice, and those months are not the only times I’ve topped 50k+ words in a month before. I know what I’m capable of, so constantly seeing that I only wrote 20k words or less in a month made me feel super lazy.

I usually have an idea of about how much I’ve written in any given month anyway, but I really only care if the story is moving or not, regardless of how many days I work on it, how many hours I spend writing, or how many words I’ve written that day. And I’ve noticed that I draft a lot faster when I’m not paying attention to the word count.

So, I’m not doing Saturday updates anymore. This will give me the opportunity to update as there are actual updates. It will also free up an extra Saturday morning. Not that I’m that busy, but I appreciate it all the same. I hope to get back to where I was in early 2012 – when I thought trying was worth it, and I felt good about my writing, almost too good about it (haha), and I had all this hope for the future. But until then, I need to stop aggravating myself. It’s like when I had this cat that was peeing all over my house. I controlled whether I kept the cat or not, since I couldn’t, you know, control the cat.

I will still be doing progress updates occasionally, they will just be random, since I am a somewhat random person. 🙂

The current update is that “Once There Was Chaos” is getting a tiny (cough) shift in focus while it’s still early enough to shift stuff around without it giving me a headache. This involves me rewriting everything from scratch, but I only had two chapters, so better now than later!!

I also want to edit the intro to another story because I finally brainstormed up an ending that isn’t super ridiculous. And more also, I want to try and pen an intro down for “Blackbird Manor.” The plan is to get said intro out of the way so I can dive into it later. Or now. 😀


  • Sunflower Michelle

    Hey, you gotta do what works for you! I felt like the new story wasn’t getting drafted fast enough, but the fact is, I’m not a fast writer. I feel pretty immersed in whatever I’ve written and that’s what I’m after in this draft–that I’m not disconnecting from my characters, who I’m still getting to know.

  • Tonja Drecker

    You did it for quite a long time, and nothing lasts forever. It’d drive me crazy to keep track of word counts all of the time. I’m not a fast writer. Plus, word count is only a small part of writing. Editing is the monster chunk. And ideas, planning, replanning, contemplating. . . Can’t shove those into ‘WC’ drawers.

  • Karla

    Man, you’re sure faster than I am!! I’m glad you’re not doing it anymore if it stressed you out. Sometimes we have to break habits. And who knows, this slight yet huge change could totally be the best move ever!!
    PS: I like watching your progress bars move along too 🙂

  • Thea Landen

    I hear you on this. It just goes to show how motivation is so, so different for everyone, and what works for one person might be the kiss of death for another. I can see myself getting into the same position as you, where something like tracking word count or whatnot in a group would just make me more stressed out.

  • Michelle Tran (@michelletwrites)

    Do what’s best for you! I keep records of my progress in a notebook, but to publicly post about it every Saturday would be tiring, so I get your decision. I just try to focus on the story, and once I’m done will I randomly post about it and I find it’s less stressful that way 😀

    • Krystal Jane

      I love your notebook! I’ve been thinking of trying some kind of documentation like that, because sometimes I want to look back and see how often I worked on something, but I have no idea!

  • Amy McNulty

    We’ll miss you! (Although I see you stopped by anyway. 😉 I couldn’t comment on all the blogs, either, but I think we’ve fizzled to just a handful of people, ha. But I’m so glad I’m a part of it and met all of you! You’ve got to do what works for you.

    I feel that way about weekly updates now (too much pressure), but once a month is about right for me. It’s nice to see that I made progress after a while.

    • Krystal Jane

      Haha. I want to know how your writing and books are doing, and I follow your blog anyway. 🙂 But I went through a spell where I wasn’t even checking my update feed. Once a week is definitely too much pressure. I get stressed out pretty easily, unfortunately.

      I was so happy to see that you have something new finished! ^_^

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