Application of bottom to chair, that is.
I’ve been having a rough patch of late. My last two works-in-progress, I managed to complete in six weeks or less. My current work-in-progress, however, stalled, and I am feeling neither passion nor fire for it. Combine that with some pretty nasty headaches and a dash of laziness, and you have a recipe for accomplishing nothing.
While my muse is very real, I also know I need to write whether she’s sitting on my shoulder, jumping on the keyboard and cursing because I can’t type faster, or off flitting around wherever muses go when they’re basically telling you to f-off.
After getting my headaches mostly under control, I made a bargain with myself. I would banish myself to the living room with my computer for at least thirty minutes a night. My goal was to produce 1,000 words. They didn’t have to be good words, they just had to be words. I told myself I’d rely on the editing stage to make them good words. Which, if I’m honest with myself, my first draft tends to suck anyway.
If I could do this, I’d prove to myself I was serious about writing. If I’m really serious about it, I would consider shelling out for an editing service once I’m “done” with Crowned Prince.
I’ve kept this promise for some time now, trying to do mini sprints of 15, 20 or 30 minutes and then recording my progress. Some nights, I can get my 1,000 words in about 45 minutes. Other nights, I’m at 800 and I’ve been in the chair for 90 minutes. But here’s the thing. I’m still 800 words closer to the end.
I pushed past the part I was struggling with in the WIP. Was what I wrote any good? I’m not sure. Just because it was hard to write now, doesn’t mean it completely sucked. Either way, I’m not going to dwell on it. I’ll deal with it in editing. This may be why it takes me three times longer to edit a book than to write it . . .
I’ve pushed past the 40,000 word mark and am now racing towards the climactic ending. Yeah, my first drafts are only 50-60k. I write a skeletal first draft and go back and add a lot of description, a few extra scenes to better explain things, and a few more steamy scenes. I know this about myself, and I work with it.
I have now also learned I need to be sequestered to write. I know sprints make me more productive.
I know it’s not going to be easy to maintain the momentum and finish the book, but if I keep at it, I’ll get there. Once the words are on the page, I can make them better. First, the words have to get there.
How about you? Anything you’ve ever had to push through to complete? Do you reward yourself for doing things you’d rather not? Or maybe your muse is far better behaved than mine, and if so, how do you keep her so happy?