Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Writing Challenge Complete

New t-shirt.
Seemed appropriate to wear today.
I’ve been blogging during the month of March since 2012. In 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and now 2019, I have taken on the March writing challenge, thirty-one posts in thirty-one days. Every year that I’ve attempted it, I’ve completed it. It’s not easy.

This year the challenge was more difficult for me than in the past. I’ve been struggling in the past week to try and figure out why that is. I think that it might have something to do with trying to write the romance books at the same time. I’m struggling to find time to write for the blog and find time to write this book. I’m also trying to find time to parent, read, spend time with my family, walk the dogs, you know...have a life?

It isn’t easy.

There are people who make blogging look easy. They update their blogs on a regular basis and also seem to have a well balanced life. I don’t understand how they do that.

When I look at my blog posts for the five previous years I’ve completed the challenge, I noticed that no month ever has as many posts as March. Heck, in 2017 and 2018, a little less than half of the posts for the year came in March. I think that this much writing, for me, isn’t sustainable.

So why complete the challenge now? Why would I take it on this year when I already need to write more on another project? I think, for me this year, it was trying to remind myself to make writing a priority. I love writing this romance book. Well, that’s true most of the time. And yet, I began it last year in April with the goal of writing every day. (Which meant I wrote only a handful of times on my blog last April.) I did manage to write 27/30 days in my romance book last April. Writing became part of my life. I truly do not think I’d be this far into this romance series without writing daily for my blog last March.

The daily writing reminded me of my love for it, which made me believe I could write something that was in my heart begging to come out.

In life I tend to struggle with balance. When I read a lot, everything else falls to the side. Ditto to when I write a lot, when I work out a lot, etc., etc. I feel like my balance comes when you look at my life as a whole, not on a daily basis. I try to examine my life for a week and hope that I found time for everything that is important. But sometimes I get out of balance. The March writing challenge helps me reclaim the writing space in my life, forces me to put it in my everyday schedule, and I hope that spills over to a more balanced writing life come April 1st.

Tomorrow my blog will go back to sporadic updates. My goal this year has been to post about writing every Wednesday, whether it with interviews from authors or stuff about my own writing life. So far I’ve hit 12/13 Wednesdays. In an ideal world, I’d love to publish at least one more time a week, so roughly eight times a month. We will see.

For the rest of my writing time I’d like to get going on this book. In book two I’m currently on chapter 9, around 32,000 words. I’ve been writing about a chapter a week. I’d love to finish draft one of this book by the end of the school year, then go back and revise book one. I’m sure I’ll update as I go.

This writing needs to take place on the edges of a full life. Two track seasons - middle school and high school - have kicked off for Luke and Liam. Liam is also in concert band and Symphonic band. He’s also begun high school drumline practices and has drum lessons once a week. Luke has work at the local Italian restaurant, which doesn’t require anything from me other than dinner before he goes there. He has Prom coming up. I have a class coming up online for Choice Literacy (find out more HERE), a two day conference, and a presentation for a friend’s class at a local college. That doesn’t include orthodontist/doctor/ dentist appointments or the ACT. And that’s just until the end of the school year.

However, I look back at my interview with Penny Kittle this March. (If you didn’t see it, check HERE. She has exciting news at the end of the interview about what she’s writing next.) I’ve seen Penny speak many times and she always inspires me. Because I’ve seen her so often, I’ve heard her share this quote from Don Murray before, but it was exactly what I needed that day in March when I shared her post. Penny wrote, From my friend, Don Murray: “15 minutes a day, Kittle. Just 15 minutes a day and you’ll have a book in a year.”

And so, I look ahead to April and think to myself, 15 minutes a day, Sokolowski. I can do it.

Thanks for joining me on this March journey once again. I truly appreciate all of you for sharing your reactions to my writing. You motivate me to keep going and I thank you for it.