With a Little Help From My Friends

It’s funny how everything came together this weekend. I experienced some creative synchronicity to be sure. The chapter I’m reading for Finding Water is all about social support and seeking out friends to help get through tough creative times.  It seems like that’s the theme this weekend.

It started with one Twitter friend mentioning a #1k1hr challenge on Friday night. One thousand words in one hour. I liked it. It was simple, easy to do. It was only an hour. I could take this bite-sized chunk of time and write a thousand words, couldn’t I?

Friday night, I opened Scrivener to Crashed and started working on Mistral’s prequel story to Salvaged. I’d already outlined it. I had written the first half of the story.  I knew what was going to happen. I knew what needed to happen and how I could make it work.  I wrote 2065 words in that hour, and I finished the rough draft.   It will require some rewriting and revision, but that’s not the point.  The point is that I’ve been sitting on this story for months, and one silly Twitter challenge pushed me through it.

Saturday morning, another Twitter friend threw out the same challenge, and again, I accepted.  I didn’t know if I could do it. But I tweeted “I’m in” before I could stop and think.  At the hour on the hour, I pulled up Scrivener again, and this time to the Maaneshin graphic novel script.  This time, I wrote 1805 words or so, and made it through some of the transitional scenes I hadn’t been sure about. How was I going to get from A to B? The sprint pushed me through.

This morning, I threw out the challenge to see if there were any takers. There were. So I wrote another 1k1hr and worked through the rest of Act 1 in the graphic script. I worked through the scenes that I knew needed to happen but I didn’t know HOW I was going to make them work. I came up with a visual concept that made more sense for the thought-space the characters have to move through.  I love it. I’m fired up, and even though I’m looking at the next phase in the outline with trepidation, I know what needs to happen. I know where I’m going.

Right now, as I write this, I’m actually participating in another 1k1hr sprint. I decided since my fiction work was at least somewhat done for the day, and I’m going to need to figure out what happens next, I would spend a little time on my blog. This post won’t be 1000 words long. It will be however long it needs to be.  But when I’m done with it, I’ll close it and start a new one.   My goal for the blog is to get my buffer of pre-scheduled posts built back up. I’m tired of stressing about having blogged or not having blogged every day. I prefer it when I’m at least 4-5 days out from my next post.

At the same time as all of this has been going on, the artist who inspired me to start working on Maaneshin texted me. She told me about her artist’s block.  How stymied she’s been with her sketching.  I immediately thought of the Finding Water chapter I’d just read. I thought of my word sprints. I thought of the ways I have to do push past my inner critic.   The keys for all of those things were (a) normalize the block, don’t make it too dramatic, (b) tackle it with baby steps and (c) hold one another accountable.

My goal – that I set yesterday – was to try to work on my fiction projects for 30 minutes a day, every day. The small, time-bound space is good because it’s a tiny doable segment. It isn’t overwhelming. It’s a baby step.  The daily part is tough, but that’s the point. What I hadn’t done was hold myself accountable.  So this little agreement with my artist friend is exactly what I needed to round out my new goal.  It sounds like it might be what she needs.

Just 30 minutes a day (maybe twice that if I keep joining in on 1k1hr challenges) and a daily check-in with my friend.

I can do that.

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