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  • Writer's pictureSophia Dunkin-Hubby

Don't Let the Goal Get in the Way

Two pages of a notebook with a dot grid back ground. On the pages are lists of dates with word counts next to each one. The dates are grouped according to weeks with word count totals for each group. A capped pen lies diagonally across the page.

What's gone on this week

My writing really took off this week. I've been wanting to finish my current draft by the end of the summer but I've dragged my feet. Not knowing where the story wants to go next has been the main issue. There always comes a time in every draft where I decide enough is enough and I'm just going to go for it. I hit that this week and have been writing up a storm as a result.

I did the math and figured the most I could probably write would be three chapters a week. That will take me through September 21 with the number of chapters I think I have left. From there I figured out writing goals for the weekends and week days. It's a lot more than I've been writing (averaging about a chapter to a chapter and a half a week) but I feel I can do it. It always feels good to have a plan in place but I've learned from experience that the plan can sabotage my writing if I'm not careful.

I track my word counts each day so I can see my progress. I love racking up numbers. It's so satisfying watching the count increase I almost get a little buzz from it. And that is where I have to be careful because it's so easy to let the numbers become the focus instead of the story itself. To love the idea of writing instead of the act.

I think this phenomenon is true for all kinds of things that we want to do. The idea of the thing is easy love, the concept easy to grasp. Doing the thing, doing it well, requires practice and patience. Take painting. I love the idea of painting. The supplies - brushes, paints, paper or canvas - are wonderful to touch. The act of buying them is empowering. I want to rush home and create the image that I see in my mind - a field of flowers or a boat on the water. Then I go to use them and the dream falls apart. I don't know how to manipulate the paint or the brush to achieve the effect I want. It will take lots of practice to get good enough at it to where my idea of painting matches the act of painting.

I think the major difference between people who live the lives they dream about and the people who don't is that the former don't allow the ideas to stand in the way of the doing. They aren't afraid to try something out to see if it's something they want to invest time and energy in. Or they ask themselves before they start if it's the idea that they really love rather than the thing itself. And if it is the idea they find another way to achieve the feeling behind the idea. (Something I've talked about previously.)

For me I love the act of creating a story more than the idea of being a writer. But if I allow the idea to take over not only is the writing not as good but it's much harder than usual. I've had to detach from the goals I set in order to meet them. Slightly counter intuitive but it works.

Garden Update

At this point in the summer all I'm craving is color. I went by Gamble Gardens and wandered through their Dahlia rows. I'll be posting about them all week over on my gardening Instagram account.

It's not uncommon at this point in the season for me to be disappointed in how things have turned out. I don't have enough sunshine on my balcony railing for the small dahlias I'd planted. The chamomile bloomed but didn't spread like I hoped it would. The original fuschia bush I bought is still refusing to flower after three years. And the seeds I sowed are not showing signs of flowering any time soon, maybe not at all.

Many of the things that I plant are experiments so it's not surprising that they often don't work out. I've got a stack of seeds for fall and spring and a bunch of bulbs on order. Maybe I'll have more success with some of those.

What I'm loving lately

I bought the loveliest print from Jen Hewett Studios this week. I've been following her on Instagram and coveting her designs. Her prints are done by silk screen. I can't wait to frame it and add it to my closet. I'm covering a wall in framed artwork a la Sir John Soane.

Also loving Natalie Miles' podcast So You Think You're Intuitive. It's become my go to while I'm in the car.

Word Count


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