#AcWriMo 2015 Week 1: dealing with change

I’m sitting on the sofa listening to The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play Dario Marianelli’s “Mrs Darcy” from Pride & Prejudice. It’s a beautiful piece of music that is full of history and hope for the future. It provides a great backdrop to reflect on the first week of AcWriMo.

For me, week 1 has been about being okay with change. At the start of AcWriMo, I dutifully listed my goals on the Sign Up Sheet.  They were:

  • To finish the first draft of my PhD proposal (I’ve done bits of it, but it’s very drafty and very messy)
  • To finish an article on clinics and alternative business structures (couple of tweaks required)
  • To write an article on ethics and authoethnography, following my paper at the British Autoethnography Conference (6000 words).

This was, I thought, pretty hardcore. Last year, I focussed on one article but this year I wanted to push myself. I knew that the first article wouldn’t take too much to finish so that would mean something was ticked off early on. That would – hopefully – bring a sense of achievement and spur me on to finish the other two writing projects. I said that I would write 500 words a day. This has worked for me in the past.

Then, all change! In quick succession, I received revisions on two other writing projects. Both with deadlines in November. I had 7 days to make the revisions to the first – which was, serendipitously, the article I wrote during last year’s AcWriMo.

So I had two choices: (1) Completely abandon my original AcWriMo goals or (2) Make adjustments, refocus and keep going. I chose the latter. I went back into the Sign In Sheet and added the revisions to my goals. In my mind, I also moved around the order that I would tackle each project, in accordance with the deadlines.

Final revisions to last year's AcWriMo inspired article
Final revisions to last year’s AcWriMo inspired article

500 words a day has been an achievable target for me. But it has meant changing some of my working practices. For example, I’ve been getting up earlier and writing first thing. This is very much akin to my relationship with exercise.  If I put off going for a run until after work, I get distracted by other things and it never happens. If I go out for a run first thing, it gets it out of the way and I feel good.  On Monday I wrote 629 words in 45 minutes. On Tuesday, I wrote 399 words in an hour. Each day is different (I’m number 36 on the Public Accountability Sheet if you want to see how things have been going), but writing first thing has really worked. I’m looking forward to seeing what next week will bring…

How has AcWriMo week 1 been for you? 

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