Last week I hit 60,000 words, which is the number I was most looking forward to (besides my final word count). This finally feels like the end. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a burn out and I took this past week off from writing my novel. Turns out, getting up between 3:15 and 4:30 makes you crazy.
The bad news: I probably won’t reach my goal of finishing my first draft at the end of this month. The good news: my brain is no longer in a vegetative state. Pray for me.
Goals for My Novel
Write a book for a broad audience. I want my book to be funny, entertaining, and exciting (to men and women, young and old), but also clean. My book doesn’t have cuss words or explicit content. Still, I think a lot of “clean” books (and films) are cheesy and boring. My book is not Christian fiction, but as a Christian, I made sure that people can read it without exposing their eyes to cuss words and their imaginations to nakey-ness.
GetPublished. What this will actually look like is dependent on how good my book actually is. I have no idea if I can land an agent or a publishing deal. BUT, no matter what, I’m going to publish my book. Even if it’s insanely bad, I’m going to do it.
If I’m successful at that…
Make some sweet coin. My goal is not to be wealthy. If it’s God’s will that I have a financially successful writing career, cool. I do, however, have two financial goals that I would love to see happen: (1) Either afford to rent or buy a house with a yard. I don’t want a shared yard. I don’t want a paved patio calling itself a yard. I want grass and trees. Oh, and I want this house to be in San Diego and preferably remain in PB or any other coastal neighborhood. (2) Give a ton of money to our church. We go to the best church in San Diego. I just want to write the church fat checks. Is that so wrong?
Happy Mother’s Day! I’m a mom, so that means I get to be happy, too. My husband asked what I felt like doing for Mother’s Day. He threw out the idea of having a spa day. I told him I wanted to lay in bed and read. We’re celebrating a day early, so I’m in bed reading, writing, and making plans. I’m also eating like I want diabetes. Hopefully I have a positive book update next weekend.
“Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11
How stupid would it be to stick a ladle in the toilet and sample our own barf? “You know what? I’d like to barf that up again… let me put it back inside me.” There’s nothing enjoyable about throwing up. It stinks, it looks like massacred food, it’s full of bacteria and other poisons that your body clearly couldn’t handle, and the process to get it out is usually painful and humiliating. The only thing good about throwing up is it purges our bodies of sickness. Still, when I’m in a moment of sickness, I’m never thinking, “Oh, how splendid to watch my body empty itself of this virus!” I’m actually thinking, “I will never eat sausage McMuffins again. Or shrimp tacos. And I’m gonna wash my hands more. I’m never going near children, etc.” In other words, I’m thinking about how not to let this happen again.
Anyway, have you ever watched someone repeat the same foolish behaviors over and over again? It’s like, “You’re still doing that? Didn’t you already do that in the 90s?” They complain about it and say they’ll never do it again, but then they do it again. And again! Then you start wondering if they’re mental or have memory problems because no one can be that dumb. Because of Proverbs 26:11, I often think to myself, “There they go, taking the ladle to the toilet.” It really is that stupid for us to repeat our foolish mistakes. But why do we do it?
Part of the answer lies (according to me) in what the scripture isn’t saying.
(1) No One Is Force Feeding the Dog Its Vomit
Which means no one else is forcing us to repeat our same folly. “I wouldn’t have done it if so-and-so hadn’t blah blah…” If you’ve ever watched My 600 lb Life, you’ll see this excuse in action every 5 minutes. (I reference this show a lot, because I binge watched it during my last trimester with my daughter and I think I have PTSD). The doctor on the show will ask, “Why did you put on 5 million pounds last month?” and the morbidly obese person will say, “My girlfriend who is old enough to be my mother keeps bringing me sack after sack of cheeseburgers!” Someone in this situation would probably acknowledge that their situation is foolish or sinful (like a dog eating barf), but the only reason they’re sinning is because of someone else (me force feeding the dog with a spoon).
I think many of us are guilty of blaming others for our foolishness. Even Adam and Eve were pointing fingers. Would it be nice for the rest of the world not to give out cheeseburgers/alcohol/drugs/abusive boyfriends/psycho girlfriends/credit cards, etc? Yes, but that’s NEVER going to happen. So, I guess it’s time for you to hold yourself accountable for your folly.
Or you can just get you another ladle full of that hot barf. It’s looking chunky. You’ll definitely have to chew it.
(2) The Dog Is Not Snacking on Someone Else’s Barf
So, I’m over here puking and the dog wants in on the action (I could see a real life dog doing this, by the way). This is a case of, “I don’t even have a problem, they do.” I feel like snitches use this logic a lot. Anyway, here’s the most common, modern example of this I can think of: foolish choice in significant others. “All men are pigs” or “All women are crazy.” Because if all men are pigs, then the fact that I keep dating pigs means I am innocent when I saunter over to that trough of vomit the pig men are offering and have me a sip or two or ten because it’s the ONLY option. It’s not even MY barf!
You better not use your wooden ladle in this vomit. It’s heavy in stomach acids and will eat right through it.
I’m really stretching it with that last illustration. I think I just wanted to take pictures of a dog eating my barf. I’m probably why 1 Timothy 2:12 exists.
So, with those two points in mind, pride is what keeps many of us from repenting of our folly and is also what continually keeps us in a pattern of falling:
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Best case scenario, we swallow our pride (maybe that’s a bad choice of words) and admit we have sin in our lives–I’m specifically referring to the sin of folly mentioned in Proverbs 26:11. Although that’s a good first step, it isn’t enough (see Return of the Unclean Spirit). We need something to put in place of our foolishness. What’s the opposite of being foolish? The answer, I think, is to be wise. And how do I get wisdom… here’s a hint: GOD.
Flush the Toilet: Fear God, Gain Wisdom
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
I can hear it now, “Why should I fear God? That doesn’t seem like a loving God.” Read that last bit of the scripture again, the part starting with “fools.” Maybe you ought to just hear God out on this one. I’ll just say this as my quick reply: we ought to fear God because He’s GOD.“Oh, but I want a God that loves me and puts up with my crap.” That’s the last thing any of us needs. “But how come God would want me to suffer…” Just get off my website and go hang out on Reddit.
For those of you who have stuck around (this was supposed to be like 4 paragraphs long), here are some bits of wisdom from the book of Proverbs to whet your appetite:
For lazy fools:
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)
For fools who follow worthless pursuits (e.g. MLM schemes, get rich quick schemes, dumb business ideas–forgive me)
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Proverbs 12:11)
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. (Proverbs 13:11)
When in doubt, go with God (don’t take advice from other fools):
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
For the foolish fellas who like crazy women and hate the heat:
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19)
For people who act like fools when they’re angry:
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)
I think that’s enough for now. Some of you might be weighted down too heavily with conviction or hating hard due to the correction. I have a great idea though: find a Bible and read Proverbs. Oh, and don’t forget to fear God.
There’s a terrible disorder that strikes 98% of children under the age of nine yet many don’t know the name I gave it back in 1991. The disorder is called In Love with the Wall or ILW for short (but don’t call it that). It’s characterized by obnoxious, slaphappy hyperactivity that typically results in the child falling in love with a wall. After annoying everyone in the household, the child will eventually stumble (or be shoved) into a wall and remain leaning against this wall. The wall is then looked at as if it possesses great beauty and is even caressed despite the fact that most walls cannot experience any sensations. I first witnessed this disorder over twenty-five years ago in one of my younger siblings. This sibling also fell in love with the couch, but wall sounded funnier.
Unlike your common, run-of-the-mill hyperactivity which is usually brought on by caffeine, sugar or exposure to cold water, someone who is in the throws of being In Love with the Wall acts as if they are in a drunken stupor. There’s also a distinct facial expression that accompanies the disorder: dull expression, gaping mouth, and glassy eyes that refuse to make eye-contact.
Other Traits Found in “In Love with the Wall” Syndrome
– Loss of verbal skills. Mostly makes huurrr and duuurr sounds. May erupt into exhausted laughter.
– Difficulty with personal boundaries or the well-being of others (e.g. will collapse on people mistaking them for a wall)
– Thinks they are funny, but they are far from it
– Loss of hearing especially the pleas of others for them to “Stop” or “get away from me.”
– Usually has to pee, but will lean against the wall and cross their legs
– May fall in love with the couch once the “fit” begins to subside
– Snaps out of it as soon as someone has had enough and hits them back.
– ILW usually strikes in the evening or sometimes earlier on overcast days.
If you or a loved one suffers from In Love with the Walldisorder, start playing THIS SONG really loud.
One stupid-dumb thing I always do when making writing goals is that I come up with the goal first then I try to make my terrible methods accomplish this goal. So, for example, last year I said, “My goal is to be done with my book by the end of the year” because that sounded cool. My husband and I agreed that my writing nights would be Monday and Wednesday after dinner. Then I would try to cram in writing any other time I could. Of course I failed. Not because of the timeframe, but because my methods weren’t very wise. Also, sin.
For starters, as a stay-at-home mom with two young kids, my brain is pretty fried by 5 pm. At that point, I could probably be collecting disability. Remember that brain-egg in the frying pan commercial? “This is your brain on drugs?” Well, my brain on kids would be the same, except when he cracks the egg, a fart comes out of the egg and swirls around the pan.
I guess anyone with kids, whether you work or not, is fried at that hour, but I would argue that stay-at-home mom brain is a different flavor of exhaustion.
Anyway, I would still go upstairs and write, but it was such an inefficient use of time. Sometimes I could only get 200 words out in 90 minutes. I never took the time to experiment with different times and figure out what worked for both my family and me. But that’s all changed, you guys!
Here are some bits of wisdom I learned over the past 3 months that helped me hone in on a method that is actually working.
Clean at Night
This is a good idea for two reasons: (1) Cleaning requires little brain power or creativity, so it’s best to do while braindead in the evening. Writing, on the other hand, does require brain power and creativity, so I should probably use my fresh morning brain on this task, right? (2) My kids will destroy my cleaning efforts throughout the day and then I’ll be re-tidying up ALL day (this = rage). Better to do it once at night and wake up to a clean house.
In short, give your “stupid self” stupid tasks and your “smart self” smart tasks. I feel like if I took the time I could come up with a cool Johnnie Cochran rhyme for this.
Note: It’s not like I DON’T clean during the day. Things likes laundry have to be done during the day, but certain things are left for when the kids are in bed (e.g. loading/running dishwasher, kitchen wipe-down, tidying the living room, chiseling boogers off the furniture).
Write in the Morning
I never considered myself a morning person until I met my husband and realized there are people who need three hours to wake up. Now please don’t confuse being a “morning person” with one of those X-Men that only needs 4 hours of sleep. I wish I had that power. Anyway, I thought about getting up early to write, but it just didn’t seem practical to me.
After attending a Christian writing conference in March, one of the speakers (Costi Hinn) encouraged us to get up early. This was kind of not good to hear, because my daughter (before daylight savings time) was getting up between 5-5:30 am. That means I would have to get up at 4 am to get at least an hour in. That’s going fishing times. But I took a step of faith and started doing it. I realized if I go to bed at 9:30, I could still get 6.5-7 hours of sleep. So, three days a week, I’m up before 5, usually 4:15 am. And it works.
I Still Do Bad Things
I had a few paragraphs here about how I still do bad things, but I decided to make that into a separate blog post. To sum it up, the third bit of wisdom came about when it was brought to my attention (thank you God) that I had sin in my life that I needed to repent of. Stay tuned for that juicy gossip. Oh, and with the scripture above in mind, I actually did that (commit my work to the Lord) and I just want to warn you that sometimes God needs to correct you in order for your plans to be established. It’s worth it though.
By the way, if anyone wants to be a character witness at my trial, please e-mail me.
My Revised Methods and Writing Goals
So, here we go. Just a little snapshot of my goals for April. Things will be modified for May.
Write ~4,750 words a week.
Wake up early three days a week (write at least 750 words during this time)
One writing night a week (Wednesday night, write at least 1000 words).
Two hour block of writing Saturday (write at least 1,500 words)
April total: ~ 19,000
Total word count: ~ 59,500 words
This post was supposed to be short. Also, for the sake of my SEO keyword density: writing goals, writing goals.
Hello. If you’ve been to my page before, you probably remember that I, Carolyn Honeychurch, had a lot of illustrated posts on here. They were mostly stories about my life. I archived those since I’m transitioning this site into something more professional. Just to be clear, my idea of professional is not good (that’s what a real professional told me, at least). Also, my old stories contained material and language that can get you thrown in prison nowadays (e.g. m*dget).
Anyway, if you don’t already know me, my name is Carolyn Honeychurch and I’m currently working on my first novel. By “first” I mean the first one I actually intend to publish. I wrote one in high school and had another one going in my early 20s (got about 80% done with that one). Maybe I’ll write about those in future posts (Spoiler: they’re terrible).
As I get more involved in the writing community on social media, I realize that a lot of wannabe writers are very willing to share their plots, snippets of their writing and character bios. I will not be doing this. If some jerk came up to me and had two envelopes, one containing my work in progress and in the other, a nude photo of me, and then this jerk threatened to release one to the public, but I get to choose which one, I would have a lot of trouble choosing.
Here’s what I will tell you: it’s fiction, satirical, kind of adventure-y, a little fairytale-ish and maybe fantasy-like. It’s supposed to be funny. If it’s not funny, then I failed. But, on the bright side, if I fail, you all get to experience my failure with me.
Here’s my current word/page count. I assume my finished book will be between 75,000-85,000 words. My goal is to be done with the first draft by the end of May.
That’s it for now. I will keep everyone updated on my journey and other stuff here or on my Instagram @honeychurchbook.