Life,  Writing

590 Days in a Row

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On the 20th of March of 2020, five days after almost everything else had shut down for COVID, a week after I’d had to have individual conversations with the 70+ staff in my department that the casino was shutting down for a few weeks while society got a grip on COVID (and no, we didn’t know exactly how long, but the indications we’d been given suggested we’d be open again before summer – look back on that now and choose your emotional reaction), upper management gave most of the rest of us the same speech, ultimately leaving just the General Managers and the site Maintenance Managers for our district, plus the regional HR Director, employed for the duration.

And it wasn’t long after noon that we got the news, so the few of us left had an early start to a long vacation.

With the expectation that I had a lot of free time for a while, on the way home I started making a mental list of all the things I’d use that time for. Large numbers of household tasks made the list, as did additional martial arts time, but writing and related activities became a big part of things, too.

Thus began the longest writing streak of my life: 20 March 2020 through 20 October 2021. Overall, it was very productive.

Some days I only edited. Some days I only drafted. Some days, I edited, drafted, blogged, wrote poetry, wrote a review, scribbled notes on a scrap sheet of paper, journaled, and prepped and/or published an independent work. The best day by word count was 03 Jun 2020 with a total of 8,138 words built, 7,104 of them finishing a novella. The lowest day for word count was a month before that on 02 May 2020, when I spent an hour and a half making notes and flagging adjustments on the third Heroes Inc novel for a net word change of 7. Yes, 7 words for 90 minutes’ work.

If my arithmetic is good, it works out to 590 days in a row for a total of 444,491 words. About 150 of those days happened while I was taking a full or maximum course load in university (with correspondingly low word counts for a few minutes of editing on those days). That’s what finally made me break the streak. With high-value midterms pending in several courses, I needed the extra time back for studying and projects. A staggered restart and then finals were looming so there were a few more gaps. Christmas and a couple of days after worth of carefully moderated COVID family activities, both in person and virtual.

The current streak stands at 9 days as you read this. It will probably go on until I have a major essay or test about to happen and then we’ll reset the counter to zero again and see what happens.

The important thing is that it’s okay to take a day off now and then. Even a few of them in a row. Consistency is key, but constancy isn’t always good for your energy levels or mental health. In that light, it was entirely fine for me to be creatively non-productive for most of the time between Christmas and New Year’s, because I do need to recharge my batteries once in a while.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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