The Most Vicious of Vicious Cycles

I have a confession to make.

I decided to take a day off from blogging today so that I could try and get some cleaning done. Our house is in a bit of a shambles, you see, and I hadn’t vacuumed since Niece was here on the weekend, and the cat’s puked in the basement again, so I thought since I had no blog posts planned in advance that I would take the day off and focus on the homestead instead.

And now I’m here telling you about it because I needed to get this out:

Cleaning sucks. It’s the most futile task known to adulthood, especially to an adult who has a toddler and two particularly idiotic cats. The second I clean up the cat puke, one of them decides to “go” outside their litter box. I vacuum my daughter’s bedroom and two minutes later she crumbles a cookie all over her floor. I throw in a load of laundry, and god help me, the stuff still waiting to go in the wash seems to multiply exponentially. For the love of puppies, I can literally see a new coat of dust appearing before I’m even finished wiping away the old dust.

And here’s the thing…even if I’m diligent, even if I forsake spare time, writing time, and playing with my daughter, and I work my ass off to get the house sparkling…by the time I get from one end of the house to the other, the first end has gotten dirty again. Between baby messes, evil cats, and no end of hair and fur on everything, there is just no way to get ahead. And that’s not even taking into account all the organizing and purging that needs to be done.

So with that said, I implore my fellow bloggers, writers, and the random other people reading this post:
How the hell do you do it? Help! HELP! I’m losing my freakin’ mind!!!!

Rules are Meant to be Broken…Right?

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

65. One writing rule you break.

Yes, I am aware that I am past #65 now. I wrote this one in my notebook and forgot to post it. I am not numerically dyslexic. Moving on.

Only one? I really can’t restrict myself to only one broken rule. I’ve already mentioned a dozen or more times that I don’t plan, don’t properly establish my characters and settings ahead of time, and don’t even attempt to pull the plot points together because I usually end up changing them a hundred times. I tend to use too many adjectives, not to mention too many commas and ellipses, and I have, on occasion, been bad for using cliches in my writing. I also have no bloody clue when it comes to proper revision. Hell, I’ve been revising/editing my zombie apocalypse novel for almost two years now…and hey, there’s another broken rule: I hear you’re not supposed to revise and edit at the same time. Who knew?

But if there’s one rule that I break more than all the others combined, it would be the one about having the willpower and dedication to actually sit down and write. Make no mistake, I write a helluva lot more than some people who claim to be writers, but I don’t write nearly enough for someone who claims to wait to be a professional writer.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. Some quick calculations based on my approximate writing speed therefore tell me that I have to write approximately 7,500,000 words before I might be considered an expert. Now if you subtract words that I’ve written for this blog (approximately 52,000), words I’ve written during NaNoWriMo’s (approximately 240,000) and words I’ve written for various other projects since I first started writing creatively (I’m willing to bet 1,000,000 is a fair estimation for over the past sixteen years or so), that means I still have about 6,208,000 words to go. If I had been more diligent over the years that number would probably be a lot lower. If I had even written 100,000 a year (the equivalent of two NaNoWriMo’s) just since college I would be down to about 5,000,000. The point is, plain and simple, I don’t write enough for someone who wants to be a published author.

I’m trying to fix that via Wildly Improbable Goal #3 (which, in case you forgot, was to write a million words this year). Even if I achieve my goal it will only bring me 16% closer to that “magic number”, but 16% is better than my previous averages, which have been somewhere in the range of 0.96%.

All work and no play…something something.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that you have to be willing to put in hard work and dedication if you want to accomplish something. I’m not the most hard-working or dedicated person in the world (ha!), but a few months ago I made a promise to myself that I was going to finish that damn zombie story if it killed me, and low and behold, I did it! With that same level of hard work and dedication I hope to, soon enough, edit the hell out of that story and get it published. Diligence!

But there’s one other thing I know for sure, and it’s this: sometimes you have to goof off too. Remember that thing about all work and no play? We all know how that turned out in The Shining, don’t we?

We all have to let loose every now and then, whether it be partying with friends, taking a trip, splurging on a treat for yourself, or whatever strikes your fancy. For me, I want to continue working on my zombie novel, but I also feel that I need (and deserve) to goof off a bit. That’s why I’m taking a couple of weeks to play around with my Final Fantasy fanfic. If there’s one thing that feels like goofing around to a writer, it’s writing your own version of a world that already exists.

Once I catch up to the point I left it off at (there were a few editing issues in the first couple of chapters), I’ll start posting it to FanFiction.net again and link it here. But for now, a question: what do you do to ‘goof off’ when you need a break from ‘hard work and dedication’?