My writing month September 2018
September is always my month where I make a very purposeful, very deliberate fresh start with my work and writing. A real whoomph as I develop the ideas I had over the summer.
This September I have taken it up a gear. I feel I’ve finally found my thing, my direction with my online work (I will blog about this soon) and I’ve given myself a writing structure that is (currently) working well for me.
So I thought I’d do a monthly breakdown of how my writing and other work has gone. I noticed at the beginning of my latest vlog (number 4/September 30th) that I was giving myself a hard time because I hadn’t got as much written as I’d hoped. Hopefully this will demonstrate to myself that I’ve got more work done that I thought or will show me why I haven’t!
So, this is it. My writing month actually starts on Monday 3rd September. I start recording my Weekly Writing vlog in the horizontal format for YouTube but at some point I thought IGTV would be a better fit which is vertical. I’m still not convinced I’ve made the right decision about this but I am enjoying creating the vlogs.
The vlogging is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never thought I’d have the guts to do it. But over the weekend I decided, right, I’m doing this, and got my camera out. I was so self-conscious talking in front of the camera. And the words would just disappear into a fog in my head as soon as I pressed the record button. But I persevered and I’m learning not to run all my sentences into each other so I can edit and ‘cut’ more easily.
On the writing front I opened up a brand new notebook and started to plan what I wanted to achieve during September.
This is what I had:
Three blog posts a week (aprox 12 in total for the month)
Two newsletters per month
One sponsored Instagram post
Setting up my Patreon project of monthly essays and write the first essay
Write my novel chapters 5-10
The idea is that the blog posts would provide the structure to my week (they would go out on a Monday, Wednesday and a Friday/weekend). Then during the rest of the time I’d write my novel and essay.
In terms of my novel I went through each chapter and summarised it in a grid in my notebook. It’s been a while since I’ve done any work on it so it was great to re-familiarise myself.
This week started with my first Weekly Writing Vlog going live. Part of me felt I should have been more nervous than I felt (??!!) but I’d got to that point where I thought: this is me, this is what I look like, this is what I sound like, and this is something I want to do. So I clicked the button to upload it on IGTV and there it was for everyone to see. I felt momentarily nervous and went outside but then I was fine. This was the right thing for me to do. Plus I received some lovely feedback (thank you if this was you).
The first writing I did was my A Bookish Baker newsletter. It wasn’t a long newsletter but I wanted to share the news of my new vlogging venture.
My blog posts didn’t come easily this week. So I finished one off that I’d partially written (how Instagram made me a better writer) and created one with input from other instagrammers about Autumn (our favourite things about autumn). The problem is that if my blog posts don’t come to me easily, if they don’t flow out of my fingertips, then this has a massive knock on effect for the rest fo the week. I need to start writing more in advance in case this happens in the future but I find this a struggle too.
In terms of my novel I finished summarising it in the grid structure. This was incredibly useful as I could see it, as a two page spread in my notebook, and I realised I needed to add a lot more to it. More characters, more action, in fact, I felt the whole thing felt flat. But this was good. It has given me something to work towards. And I then started to summarise each SCENE on a white card. I want to plan it all out now. Yes I am a planner and a plotter. And I’m well aware this is going to take me some time.
What I did do when I didn’t feel like writing was film a seasonal film for IGTV. Something I forgot to do in later weeks!
The final piece of writing I did was my Sowing Stories newsletter - the theme of which was ‘being scared’. This then led to me thinking about a blog post I could do…
With the best will in the world sometimes things just don’t go to plan. This week, though not terrible, has been frustrating.
A dental appointment, anxiety, feeling low, scrutinising how I sound on camera, losing camera footage = all of this has impacted my writing life this week. And it really threw me out. I still did my three blog posts, one, about the comfort of an apple crumble, was inspired by my dental visit.
Another blog post was inspired by Mrs Hinch of Instagram. She’s a cleaning obsessed instagrammer and her account has sky-rocketed. I wanted to write about what we, as Instagrammers, can learn from her, but then had massive doubts as people were saying how cleaning was sexist etc. For a while I panicked about sending the post live as I thought I’d get a backlash. Then I thought sod it. I’m doing it anyway. And I did and again, have had LOVELY feedback. There’s a lesson there.
Week three was so frustrating with y writing and vlogging and it was so tempting to hide that and say everything was fine. But then, what would be the point in that? I decided to share my frustrations. After all, my writing life is not perfect!
This week, after a last minute decision at the weekend, I launched my A Bookish Baker Instagram Book Club! Monday was a very exciting day and I had, again, lovely feedback. (I’m so lucky with the feedback). Much of this week’s vlog is talking about the book club so have a look there if you’re interested in how it felt to launch it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this month it’s that 1) I need to spend more time on my novel and not procrastinate with social media. 2) With my essay I should stop worrying about it sounding like it was written by anyone else but myself. I got a bit frozen with fear about it and it stifled me. When I gave myself time off from it both the first line and theme came to me just before I was about to fall asleep last night. I’ve written it down in my notebook and I’m pleased as I honestly feel like this is the right direction now.
This flailing about with my essay has meant I’ve done nothing on my novel this week. Mind you I was solo-parenting and my daughter was poorly. Most of the time though my head just felt empty.
Writing three blog posts a week has had a massive effect on my blog stats. Before September April and May were my best blogging months but this month has easily surpassed that already with one more day (and blog post) to go. It might also beat my December 2017 when a pin on Pinterest went viral and brought in lots of traffic.
I like writing my blog on regular days. It helps me and hopefully means my readers (you!) will get used to when I’ll post. I’ve also done this regular time with my vlog. It goes live every Sunday morning - around 9am (though earlier when the puppy wakes me earlier!)
September has been a good month. No, my novel is still not finished and I’ve discovered I need to put in so much work. But this in itself is progress.
With my essay I’m worrying because it is brand new, because people are paying for it and I’m over thinking it. I need to treat it more like a blog post, I think, in order to trick my brain into writing it.
I’m looking forward to October.