Wandering back

It’s been almost two years since I wrote on this site. Where have I been? Generally making a mess of things over on the website I use for my pen name K K Ness. I’ve published three books under wee Nessie, and I’m excited about the ones that are coming.

So why am I back here?

I think one of the downsides of having a blog under a pen name is that I struggle to be authentic and show the floundering, disasterous, ‘I’ll never get this book done’ side of me. And I miss being honest about my writing journey.

So here I am. And I brought baggage.

I’ll start with what many folk shared at the start of the year – my goal for 2019. It’s a biggie, and it kinda makes my belly go to liquid…

I will write 1 million words in 2019.

In truth, I kinda decided on this goal only yesterday, so that’s when my countdown started. It means I need to write 2900 words a day. Every day. Which is achieveable for anyone…if you’re not drowning in self doubt (most days, I’m soooooo drowning). But I figure if I continually strive for my 1 million words target, no matter what, I’ll have gotten some BIG things done in 2019.

Oh, and to be clear, that’s 1 million words of fiction. Blogging, plotting and journalling don’t count. But redrafting does, because I have a habit of basically throwing out the first draft and starting over. It might be why I hate first drafts, because I bleed all over the page and then toss it in the bin. An 80K book actually takes me 160K words to write. It’s my process, I suppose.

Anyway, I’ll give regular updates on how the goal is progressing, along with what’s going on in my writerly life. It’ll be messy because, even though I’ve published a few books, I still don’t know what I’m doing.








February Challenge

Following last week’s almost-decision to give up my dream of full time writing, I’ve been thinking about why I lack the belief that I can have a successful writing career. Despite quitting my corporate job, moving interstate and turning my back on a new profession—all so that writing remains my first priority—I can’t shake the fear that my writing dreams will never be a reality.

So I’ve set myself a February Challenge—to write something positive every day about my writing life. An affirmation, if you will. Today’s is ‘I am grateful and thankful to be living out my passion as a writer.’

I have it on a sticky note above my table so that I can keep looking at it throughout the day. Tomorrow, I’ll put a new affirmation beside it, and then another and another until I have 28 positive thoughts, compliments and affirmations stuck to the wall.

My hope is that some of that positivity will seep in and I can get onto the best part of being a writer—actually writing!

It sounds a bit egotistical covering my wall with pep talks and compliments, but if I don’t truly believe in my writing aspirations, who will?

A dream and a sure thing

I can see myself writing every day from now until my deathbed. Genetically I have a good shot at that being in my nineties, so long as I respect my body, brain and soul. I can also see myself as a published writer, writing the stories I want to read as opposed to the corporate writing that has been my life for the past eight or so years. But right now, being a published writer is a dream rather than a reality, and it’s a scary thing to structure my life around.

A few days ago, I got offered a place at university for a degree I have been interested in since I was a teenager. Over 4000 people applied for this course, and I was one of 150 people to get in. In the excitement, I accepted. In four short years, I would be assured a job in an industry with global reach, where every day was different, where my experiences would enrich my writing, and where I could make a difference every day to people who were likely having the worst day of their lives.

And yet, for the past few days, I have been inconsolable. I have bawled my eyes out at being bitten by a mosquito, for stubbing my toe, for seeing a cute puppy on instagram. A constant ball of anxiety churns in my guts and I am driving my family and friends mental with varying levels of hysteria.

Despite getting into a course I have wanted to do for more than fifteen years, I have to acknowledge one incontrovertible truth.

I have made a mistake.

If all I want to do is write, why would I commit to a new career that could only draw me away from writing? There is only one answer: because it is safe.

I am in constant fear that the sacrifices I have made for writing will be for nothing. I worry I have many more sacrifices to make for something that may never happen. I feel my writing is not good enough to be published. And I fear that no one will like what I have to say.

But the option of a safer, more comfortable life lies before me and I cannot take it. I cannot bear the thought of hiding behind a career in a respected industry, where it doesn’t matter whether I chase my dream of writing.

So today I withdrew from the course, and now I feel weepy because of a wholly different reason:

I am back on the right path.

Goals vs Plans

Halfway into my goal of writing 20,000 words by the end of the year, I have to admit that I am on track only because I’ve had one stellar day of writing. I’ve had two days where I didn’t write at all, and another day where the writing was so stilted that I wrote over it the next day. Instead of feeling pumped by my self-imposed ten day challenge, I’m left feeling a bit directionless. Why?

This morning I realised the obvious—a goal without a plan is like putting a wish in a bottle, tossing it into the ocean and expecting the universe to provide. Which of course it doesn’t.

So for the remaining days of December, I’m giving the time-honoured SMART system a shot. Each day is planned out with specific times allocated for writing. Word and scene targets have been set, as well as contingencies for if I go below or beyond those targets. I’m feeling committed to the plan, and the excitement of having a big finish to 2014 is back.

I have a busy day today, so I’d best get cracking.

Ending the year on a high

Kelly's a lefty

I’ll point out the obvious by saying the festive season is full of distractions. It’s a time when most things are set aside for family, friends and food. It’s a great time of year but when your goal is to be a published writer, putting your work on hold is a tough ask.

Despite a busy year of writing, I am approaching the end of 2014 with a bit of anxiety. Not because I haven’t done enough; it’s because I fear the break in momentum will result in a full scale cessation of writing. It’s happened before. There have been times when I haven’t written a word for nigh on eight months. I have fair reason to be worried.

That’s why, with ten days left in 2014, I’ve decided to see out the year by writing 20,000 words. That’s a measly 2,000 words a day. Sounds doable. In truth, it feels like a big task with all of the holiday activities going on in the background (did I mention I’m also currently packing up my house for the move to Queensland?).

Nonetheless, committing to a short, time-specific goal feels like a crucial step for me. What better way to see in the new year than to see out the old with an explosion of words on the page? I’ll let you know how I go.

How will you see out 2014?