Oct 1, 2023: Gratitude for my September Writing

Food Good – Tbilisi, Georgia – 4:15pm

Welp! Grab some popcorn and settle in, ’cause this is a long one.

Originally, I had planned to start my 50-novellas-in-a-year project back in mid-August, after returning to Georgia (the country) from the States. It’s now October 1 though and I still haven’t finished the first draft of any of my novella ideas. By my original plan, I *should be* at six novella drafts by now.


Still, the last month and a half haven’t been complete failures. I spent June being deeply immersed in a health/life coach course that reminded me that changing our mindset and mentality from a list of *shoulds* to things that we *get to* do is a major key to unlocking our motivation and bypassing procrastination. Guilt-tripping ourselves with all the things we *should* be doing or *should* have gotten done already only puts us into a state of paralysis if we get sucked down the tube of “Well, what’s the point of trying if I’ve already failed so badly?”

So, I’m not buying into that failure narrative. I may not have accomplished my original goals in full, but I have achieved a lot of things to nevertheless be proud of.

What I’m Grateful For

I made my own personal/self-published writing a much bigger part of my life.

Previously, I was so burned out from writing for others that I never had the motivation to write my own creative fiction or even diary/journal entries aside from scattered notes. However, the health/life coach course lit a fire in me that compelled me to start the self-publishing business that I’d always ideated on but never committed to implementing for the long-term. I realized I had to kick my butt into gear and prioritize my own writing NOW, not wait for yet another decade to pass by. I’ve thought about making a career change for a few years but have always put it on the backburner, something I would get around to doing in the never-arriving next year

I still haven’t been successful at writing every single day, but I’m still trying to keep up a daily streak. I have managed to write most days though, and some days have been mega-productive. I’ve had a few 5000+ word days, so I know the Pomodoro technique is working for me! I think it’s gotten to the point where I know I will create my own writing at least a few days a week, which is a heck of an improvement. *gives myself a pat on my back*

I’ve written in so many different places and situations around Georgia.

I’ve proven to myself that I can be focused and productive in these 25-minute slices of time when I put my mind to it. In August, I visited Poti and Batumi, and spent much of my time off work just getting into the promise to myself, to write my own stuff for myself. I spent the days alternating between exploring the local scenery and relaxing at the beach, and writing at various cafes around town. In September, I spent almost two weeks in Mestia, Svaneti, and wrote on various hikes. During this time, I took a page out of Neil Gaiman’s book and experimented with penning my chapters in a notebook. That allowed me to write on mountainsides, traveling light between guesthouses.

My life has become so much more creative and fulfilling through my personal writing projects and drive.

This is amazing because I’ve been keeping myself so busy with various classes of interest in Tbilisi. I love traveling, but one of the downsides has got to be not being able to consistently take classes and progress meaningfully at certain hobbies. Prime example: I technically started pole dancing back in 2017 or something, but because I keep starting and stopping my training, I haven’t gotten to where I could be after six years in the sport. Oh wells.

Anyways, while I’m in Tbilisi, I’ve been taking drums lessons, driving lessons (to become more confident driving manual, and finally get my driving license!), pole dance classes, hula hoop classes, and spending some time in the DJ studio. Between all the classes, I’ve tried to go roller blading at the skate park sometimes and explore the culinary scene in Tbilisi (definitely getting my fill of Thai food before I move back to the mountains in a month or so). So, despite how jam-packed I’ve kept my schedule, I’ve still been writing. My favourite writing days have been at Fabrika, writing 2000-5000 words a day, soaking up new worlds. I still have imposter syndrome sometimes, like I don’t consider myself a *real* creative, whatever that means, even if I feel passionately about living my life creatively. So, September has been a good month for clearing some old, blocked pathways and letting myself create and dream into reality.

What I’ve Realized

August was my start-and-stop month to break in the writing *machine* in me, which was why there were some hiccups. But, I wrote a lot more in September. I’ve been keeping a somewhat messy excel sheet of my writing statistics that probably (definitely) isn’t all that accurate. But, it provides a good minimum threshold at least. My August sheet says I wrote 9, 465 words in the last 1-2 weeks, but I think it’s more like 15, 000+ words because I didn’t always update it (another thing to stay on top of!). My September sheet says I wrote 19, 463 words, but I also know that’s wrong because I wrote in my notebook for the first half of the month and still haven’t transcribed those scenes. I’d say it’s more like 35, 000+ words.

So, I’ve realized that I totally have the ability to write productively. If I’m in a good flow, I can often write 700-1000 words in a 25-minute sprint. So, I would say I write about 2000 words an hour, although for unfamiliar genres, like horror which I’ve been experimenting with, I write more like 1, 200 words an hour.

I’ve also realized that, probably like all or a lot of other writers, I have a difficult time finishing what I started. I may have written 35, 000 words, but that’s spread between eight or nine different story ideas. That is something to work on this month, for sure. In the end, writing a lot is not all that helpful if I’m not spinning those words into products I can sell and make a living from.

I’ve also realized I’m still not prioritizing my writing enough. In the lead-up to this 50-book mission, I’d planned to block out 8 hours a day for my writing, and write consistently for six days a week, 8am to 4pm. I think it’s still a realistic gameplan, but only if I’m based somewhere with no distractions. I’m a multi-faceted individual who just wants to grow in so many different directions. That’s why I love taking so many different classes and improving at different disciplines while I have the opportunities to in Tbilisi. At the same time, I am realizing that these other classes are probably also a form of procrastination. So, until I am willing to give up these other commitments, I simply am not prioritizing my writing enough. It’s coming in at position 6 or 7 currently, unfortunately. And truthfully, even after being aware of this for a few weeks now, I don’t think it will change until I leave Tbilisi. For now, I guess I’ll soak up all that Tbilisi has to offer, while committing to write as much as I can in between all my other activities. Perhaps being a traveling authoress can never be quite as perfectly productive as being a stay-at-home authoress, haha.

I’ve also decided to reduce my weekly novella word count to 10, 000 to 20, 000 words to give me more time to edit (following a schedule of four 2, 500-5000-word days, and three days to edit). Originally, I had been shooting for 30, 000 words, with five 6, 000-word days. This makes the weekly novella goal a lot more manageable, and allows me to focus even more on quality rather than just quantity. This change also keeps me more motivated to post these shorter instalments.

Finally, I’ve realized my productivity goes straight downhill if I write after a heavy meal. It’s something I should have already known, haha. *Food coma* Probably the best hours for myself are morning and early afternoon if I manage to have a late lunch.

Well, that was a long post! Let’s wrap this up.

All in all, I would still consider this a milestone post. Every day is a clean slate. I’m excited for what I’ll write this month! October, with all its promise of Halloween and its spooky ghouls, is perfect for a horror-themed writing month. I’ve already been experimenting with the horror genre for the last few weeks, so I’m looking forward to trying my hand at publishing a horror novella every week.

Also, I’ll be renewing my attempt to write a blog post update every day this month. I love behind-the-scenes day-in-the-life-of-an-author content, and writing daily blog posts, whether big or small, seems like it will be another personal accountability and productivity tracking tool. Besides, of course, being an outlet to create shorter pieces, like poems and dribbles/drabbles, and just reflect.

All of this is to ramp up for a busy November when I’ll be using Nanowrimo as a vehicle for writing a series of novellas (possibly in the fantasy/adventure genre this time).

Till tomorrow! For now, I’ve got a Bruno Mars concert to attend!

In the words of Sharpay Evans – toodles!


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