Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Ebbs and Flows of Daily Writing

Scott D. Parker

I wrote last week about momentum and immediately followed it up with two 3,000-word days for a 6,000-word weekend output. Momentum was moving. Monday was back to a basic grand, but Tuesday was a personal best: over 4,000. And that was a workday. Man, the words were flowing and the story was just chugging along nicely.

So, I thought to myself, if I can keep this up, I can easily have this thing finished in August. True, 4,000 words is a prodigious output for a working guy like me, but I got it done. I went to bed on Tuesday with visions of grandeur.

The Wednesday hit and it was like I was going in slow motion. The. Words. Just. Did. Not. Flow. It was like pulling teeth. For the first time in days, existing books on my bookshelf started to look more interesting than the scene I was writing. The iPad was there...did I have any plays on Scrabble? What’s the latest news on …well, anything? I turned aside all distractions andI managed nearly 2,500 words, but it was a slog. I opted for writing a number of smaller scenes versus one larger one. It enabled me to keep making progress.

More than anything, the Easy Tuesday 4,000/Difficult Wednesday 2,500 was a reminder that each day is a new writing session complete with obstacles to overcome or smooth sailing to ride. Those visions of grandeur was, on Wednesday, turned to delusions. This writing thing can be as easy as or as hard as it wants to be.

The key for me was to keep moving forward. Keep writing. And I kept the words of Joelle’s post from last Sunday in my mind as well, especially her third point: Repeat this phrase—“I will get to THE END.” And frequent commenter, Dana King, also made an incredibly salient point [my italics]: "Woody Allen once said 80% of success is just showing. In writing, that means finishing the book. Writers are often terrible judges of their own work, if only because they are the only person who knows what they wanted the book to be; everyone else takes the book at face value." That is an incredibly obvious point but one that I've missed way too often.

I showed up this week, in the easy times and the not-so-easy times and, by Friday, I was rewarded not only with 17,000 new words on this novel-in-progress, but I have achieved a 9-day streak of writing more than 1,000 words a day. Most importantly, however, is not the streak of 9 but the streak of 47. That is the number of consecutive days I’ve now written. (It’ll be 48 by the time this post goes live.)

I have a paperweight on my growing manuscript that has an inscription by Benjamin Disraeli: The secret of success is constancy to purpose. I’ve had the weight for years and only now, in the summer of 2013, am I really understanding what it means with writing.

The progress continues...

How are y’all doing with your writing projects?


Dana King said...

Thaks, Scott.

My current project should end this week. Tomorrow I'll finish cleaning up an old manuscript. Early next week I'll add some pre- and post-material, then format it and post to Kindle. I could finish today, but I have a process that keeps me writing every day, allows me to quit for the day with a clear conscience, and everything gets done. Besides, it's not like I have a deadline.

Anonymous said...

I'm in that strange, unsettling place known as "between projects." I'm about to shift genres (and bylines) with the next one, but until I'm ready to start, it's just strange not working on a novel everyday. Outlining for the next one doesn't really help, either.

Maybe I need to adapt Joelle's line: I will get to the Beginning.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Congrats on pushing through. You rock! And you will get to THE END and when you do I am going to throw a blog party for you! Because it is truly a wonderful thing to celebrate THE END!