Here’s an update to my Lenten writing goal. I’m at 17,000 words. I said this on Twitter, but it’s crazy to think about how much I’ve already written, and yet how much more needs to be said.
The writing has been for my first book. The book is tentatively titled “Putting it All Together: a story of illness, loss, and the life we face.” The book is about my dad’s death. I’ve mentioned on here before that my dad died while I was in 9th grade from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. What I haven’t talked much about was the life surrounding his illness, death, and the depression I faced in the wake of his death. It’s a five-year story I’ve been working through. The problem is I’ve managed to block out much of those years. My mind is a void for those years because of what happened.
Because of this, to be completely honest, it’s going to take a lot to get that 60,000 word goal by Easter. I just don’t see it happening. I still need to do more work to find stories and memories I’ve forgotten. I’ve asked friends and family to share their memories with me to help me put my brain together, and that’s taking longer than initially expected. So I’m changing the goal to more around 30,000. I should be able to reach that goal if I get busy. The final goal for the first draft still sits at 60,000 words. But I just am having a hard time seeing that as an actual goal for this short of a time frame.
But I have to say, it’s been a wild ride so far. Looking back on my life in that time and reflecting on why I did and didn’t do things. I realize that my dad’s death effected me way more than I thought it did. Coming up in the near future I’m planning to share a few excerpts from what I’ve wrote so far to share with you some of my story as I work on this project.
Today is Ash Wednesday. The start of the Christian tradition of Lent. Typically a time for giving things up. I never was a big fan of this, mainly because of how the others around me treated Lent. They would give up on chocolate, coffee, TV, etc for the 40 days, only to binge on them on Easter. I always thought that if we’re giving something up just to take it back, what is the point?
Last year, I issued myself the Lent Challenge. I challenged myself to post 3 times a week. But because lately I’ve fallen into that patter already, I can’t choose that again this year. So for this year’s Lent Challenge, I’m going to attempt to finish the first draft of my book. 40 days to complete draft. I’m about 6,000 words in right now, the goal is 60,000 for the draft. I know that seems high, but typically you cut out half the material when you do the initial editing, so I’m shooting high.
The other goal for Lent this year is to pray the daily office. That is not praying for a secretary, human resources, and the CEO. The monastic office is times of day when the members of the monastery would join together to pray for specific things. There are seven offices, we’ll see how many I get starting today. My goal is to by the time I hit Easter to pray each of them every day. For those of you who are not aware of the offices, here is a list of them.
- Matins, during the night, to be observed at midnight (I stay up until midnight already.)
- Lauds, at dawn, to be observed at 3 am (Really? How about 8 am? That’s dawn in my opinion. That’s when I open my eyes and see daylight.)
- Prime, early morning, to be observed at 6 am (I’m going with 9:30 am. Early morning is subjective to when you wake up, right?)
- Terce, mid-morning, to be observed at 9 am (I know 11:30 isn’t really mid-morning, but go with it.)
- Sext, midday, to be observed at 12 noon (I just finished praying. Let’s go for 1:30 pm.)
- None, mid-afternoon, to be observed at 3 pm (Just to space it out a little more, I’ll go with 3:30 pm.)
- Vespers, evening, to be observed at 7 pm (7? I can do that. I suddenly feel I’m back on track time wise.)
- Compline, night, to be observed at 9 pm (I can do that.)
We’ll see. I might end up getting up a little earlier. I’ve been meaning to go to bed sooner, so that would mean getting up sooner. That’s the trouble when you’re unemployed. Bed time is relative. But I’m hoping that this will put me in a better schedule. I’ll be setting alarms on my phone to remind me and I have a book by Phyllis Tickle called The Divine Hours, Pocket Edition. I have it on Kindle because I bought it last night in a rush, but it’s available in hardcover too.
So there you have it. My two goals for Lent. Are you doing anything, giving up or adding on, or Lent? Sound off in the comments for what you’re doing.
I’m not a huge fan of doing resolutions. I’ve never really stuck with them that long and didn’t want to do any of the traditional things. So instead I wrote out a list of goals that I want to have achieved by the end of the year. Some are things I prefer to do now, others I intend to do in a few months, and a few will spread through the whole year.
The list, along with why I added it, is as follows:
- Write 3 posts per week – This was the basis of the Lent Challenge that I offered myself last year. I really enjoyed it and the constant writing pushed me to write more. During the end of this last semester my posts were anywhere from down to one week, sometimes missing a whole week. This is something I want to remedy, so I’m aiming to reach 3 per week. I feel that is doable, and won’t overwork me.
- 2,500 words per week until I finish a book – Because I want to be a published writer, and I’m not in school anymore, I’ve started my first book. In order to get it finished, I’m setting the goal for writing 2,500 words per week. My estimations are it should be done in the first draft by the end of April. I’m not putting 2,500 as the maximum, but the minimum and if I go crazy and write 10,000 words in a week, I’ll welcome it. But that’s the goal.
- Start a second blog – One of the things I want to do this year is to start another blog. I’m not quitting this one, but I tend to focus on faith on this blog. So I want another one to focus on another topic so that this one doesn’t become too random when it comes to discussion topics. Hopefully this one will be up sometime around the beginning of March.
- Beat 5 video games – Since I went into seminary, especially the later years, my time to play video games, a hobby I really enjoy doing, has gone down. I just finished one game that I got two months ago, and I have several others from summer and before I have yet to finish. So my goal this year is to actually finish 5 games. Once again, this is doable.
- Read 30 books – I already talked about this one on a previous post. For more information on my reading extravaganza, head over and look at this post.
- Help with charity work at least 4 times this year – I want to actually give back in a tangible way. I could send money off to some faceless campaign, but that’s the easy way out. I want to actually do some work for the better. I’m not sure how that will be achieved yet, but I know I at least want to make this a goal for this year.
- Find and join a church – We’re off to a good start. We’re heading to a new church this morning. Here’s hoping that we fit. Last year wasn’t that good for us being able to find a church, but now that I’m not away for half the week, and Rachael has every night but one available, we’re hoping we can find more time to get involved now. For more of our church hunting exploits, you can look here or here.
- Pick up a new hobby – I have bought things in the past that I thought would be a lot of fun, only to find out I didn’t have the time for it. But now I have the time. So here’s hoping I can pick up a new hobby over this year.
So there you have it. My list of things I hope to achieve this year. Once again, they’re goals. So if one doesn’t exactly work, it’s not a big deal. But it’s something I hope by the end of the year, I can look back and say that I acomplished something. I’m also hoping to pick new goals up along the way.
What goals did you set for this year? Did you even bother to set them or not?