Something strange is happening. It’s all part of experience and the learning process but I want to share, in case someone else sees these words and perhaps learns from what I experience and learn. If no one does, writing still has value in that it helps me get it straight in my own head.
The summer was tough but incredibly beneficial to me. I learned a lot.
Still, it was an incredible relief to reach August 30th and the 100K goal.
It’s the aftermath that’s tricky to deal with.
After 60 days of having to write 2000 words a day, I made plans and removed the quotas. Surely I know well enough that I must write everyday, regardless of how much or how little I DO write? It should be more enjoyable knowing that I can just write?
Eh. Not so much.
If you remove your own quotas, you give yourself permission to do something else. I’ve written and written quite a bit in September, but that writing is uneven and unsatisfying. I have yet to finish the WIP from the summer (I’ve hit 106K) and the last few days I’ve written very little.
Today, I’m waking up, slapping myself and the quotas are coming back. 1000 words a day isn’t too much to ask from someone who enjoys writing and wants to make a serious go of it right?
It really isn’t.
When I really think about it, 1000 words is a breeze. In a pinch, 2000 words isn’t an egregious demand on my time and energy either when everything is right.
When I have a clear idea of where I’m going, what I’m doing and what I need to convey, the writing flows. It’s a wonderful feeling. Generating 2000 words under those circumstances is nothing and the limit is basically the time I continue to sit, butt in chair, typing away.
So 1000 words a day, rain or shine starting immediately.
We now come to routine.
To those in the know, it’s no secret that all in all, 13 days in, September has been a hell month for many reasons. Personal, work and just basic demands on time have been at an all time high.
My morning routine? It has disappeared and I frequently find myself sleeping in until just before I have to rush off to work.
My evening routine? It has wasted away to nothing.
I still write, mostly on my lunch hour, or when I can grab 20-30 minutes during a busy weekend.
Today, this stops. The routine is back.
I’m currently listening to “On Writing” by Stephen King on Audible while driving to work in the morning and I find myself agreeing on his insistance on a regular schedule. Writing, or your writing space is the same as your sleeping space where you sleep and dream. It is a place that is private and personal, that you enter at the same time, on a regular basis. Doing so trains your body that at this time it is time to sleep, or if you will, write. It allows you to more easily slip into the mindframe needed to get the thoughts out of your head and into coherent (and hopefully inspired) words on the page. Anything less and you’re handicapping your ability to write.
I’m sure there are some out there who will scoff. I did years ago.
I told myself I could write anywhere, anytime, and I can.
Not really, and those infrequent times that I did the writing came hard and poorly.
I’ve done my best work under quotas and routine. Revenant was the first manuscript I’ve ever written to the end and will be the first manuscript I will send out. This WIP will be the second and I am committing myself to a third. That’s almost half a million words in 2011.
Sure, most of those words aren’t great, but every single one of those words takes me one step closer to my goal. Every word I put down makes me a better writer because with every word, I learn and improve.
That’s not a bad argument for quotas and routines.