Friday, April 24, 2009

It’s a Battlefield Up There

image Hello, Resistance! That’s what my mind has felt like lately. It’s been a rough month, and I’m tired. I am still behind. Are you sick of me saying that yet? I’m sick of me saying that.

I can see why writers start to freak out at deadlines. I’m usually better than this, but this spring (actually the past year-ish), they are just killing me.

When you get behind on one, everything sort of… gets crazy. Because if you work on another while trying to catch up on one, generally they both start getting late, and the writing is harder because you’re scattered between two.

And I’m writing slower. Way slower. Every way I turn it or shake it, I am just way freaking slower than I was a few years ago.

I used to write about 1K an hour. Now I’m trudging along at 400 words an hour or so. Am I just slower now, or have I forgotten how to get in the flow?

Gosh, maybe I need to focus on learning how to get in the zone again. I used to be able to snap right into it. Maybe I should start doing more performing again.

I’m not sure really if I have a point or a question. Except never get behind, because once you do, it steamrolls.

I don’t know.

How’s your life? How are things? How do you snap into the zone, into the flow?

30 bonus scribbles:

StarvingWriteNow 4/24/2009 06:21:00 AM  

perhaps you're not slowing down so much as considering what you're writing. You're not just vomiting it all out, you're choosing.

I don't know. I'm not even doing any creative-type writing so I'm not exactly one to talk. However I have been blogging a bit, keeping that back burner lit, you know. Just in case...

But on the upside, the semester is over! Huzzah! And I ordered myself a present to celebrate--a netbook! It should be in my hot little hands by the end of next week, and I should have just enough time to figure out how to use it before my next class starts in Mid-May.

Bevie 4/24/2009 06:31:00 AM  

I'm inclined to agree with StarvingWriteNow. Twenty years ago I would push out twenty thousand words in a day. (Once I reached thirty thousand.) But it was like vomit. It took me years to edit it down to something worth reading.

Writing slower usually means writing better. Who was it who said, "Forgive the length of this letter, but I didn't have time to write anything shorter"?

Mark Twain is quoted as saying: “I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

It may be time for me to find a filling station for my creative energies. I've been writing up a storm lately and I'm beginning to feel tapped out.

Janna Qualman 4/24/2009 07:59:00 AM  

I haven't found that "one thing" yet that gets me snapped into the flow. Maybe you should explore how that's affecting you.

Have a great weekend!

Robin 4/24/2009 08:55:00 AM  

You're so right about stuff you put off snowballing! I've put off a ton of dictations because of having to rush out of work to do important stuff, like getting to the Farmer's Market early enough to buy turkey sausage.

Now there's a giant pile on my desk, mocking me. Every time I come to work it says, "I'm getting bigger! I'm taking over!" Soon it will eat me, and I'll be dead.

Melanie Avila 4/24/2009 09:24:00 AM  

Spy, I tend to start panicking when I have several things due at once, and rather just sitting down and finishing one at a time, I try to do all of them, which means I get nothing done. Once I just focus on on thing, I start to feel better and can progress.

My time-management skills are HORRIBLE now that I've been out of an office for 2+ years.

Edie 4/24/2009 09:45:00 AM  

I agree with everyone else. I'm slower now, too. But I'm also recognizing when I'm writing crap. (I think I have a blog like this in my drafts. lol) I used to bulldoze forward and ignore that "something is wrong" voice. Now I listen to it, even if I miss my goal.

I'm guessing you have deadlines and that's why you're concerned. Can you call the editor(s) and say you'll be late? Give a reasonable date when you'll make it.

I know you hate to do that, but this stress isn't good for you or for your books.

Eric Mayer,  4/24/2009 11:18:00 AM  

Maybe you're just writing better. 400 words an hour sounds a lot to me. I'll write all day -- and I mean ALL DAY -- and be lucky to end up with 1,500 words on a really good day.

Liz Wolfe 4/24/2009 12:08:00 PM  

When you find the zone, please send me the directions!
I'm going so slowly that most of the time, I'm just standing still. And I know why. I've reached the point where I'm revising and making everything fit and work and make sense. It's HARD. And it requires big chunks of time.
Also I think the more I write the better I want/expect it to be. Which requires more TIME.

Karen Olson 4/24/2009 12:27:00 PM  

I finally just finished the second in my tattoo shop mystery series, PRETTY IN INK. It's off to my agent and then to my editor. A week early. Yay! Now I can actually breathe a little, read some books that have been piling up, get back to the blogs, be a normal person again.

Until I start writing again.

Nadine 4/24/2009 02:23:00 PM  

Sorry that you are writing slower, but great that it is still 400 words an hour! And maybe these 400 words are better words than the 1,000!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

G 4/24/2009 08:21:00 PM  

400 words an hour?

Wow!

If I want to go slower with my writing, I whip the handy dandy pen and paper.

Considering the major hand problems I got, it works out quite nicely in the long run.

It forces me to think out each and every sentence that I write.

Charles Gramlich 4/25/2009 01:48:00 PM  

I write way too slow myself. I've really tried to speed up my writing and have had modest success, but not as much as I'd like.

Aimless Writer 4/26/2009 10:51:00 AM  

To snap out of that slow writing syndrome I write something really stupid, goofey and bad. Write nonsense.
I think it pushes the dust out of my brain and I can concentrate again. Silly, but it works.
Sometimes you have to be silly for awhile to save your sanity.

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:03:00 PM  

Writenow, more like worrying more that what I'm writing sucks, LOL! The back burner lit, I love that!

Yay for the semester! Oh WOW! A Netbook! Which one did you get? We were thinking of getting one for my mom for Christmas!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:04:00 PM  

Oh wow, Bevie! You're amazing! I thought my one friend was the queen, and I think she's "only" done 12K or so in a day.

I feel like that when I leave comments. I don't have time to write shorter, LOL!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:05:00 PM  

Janna, I'm definitely digging in and trying to discover. But blogging about it seemed to have opened something up!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:06:00 PM  

LOL, Robin! And I was just complaining to my husband that if we could have gone to Trader Joe's on Wednesday night, I'd have food. But now I don't have time to go until Wednesday night again!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:07:00 PM  

Melanie, they are something I am definitely trying to work on. But wow. It's tough. Especially since one never knows how long it will take to write a certain number of words on any given day.

What's funny is, I always look at you and wish I had your self-discipline and organization!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:09:00 PM  

Edie, yeah. It helped. I'm exceedingly slow when it comes to non-fiction. I really write one word at a time, whereas with fiction, I can write one sentence at a time, sometimes one paragraph or even one scene at a time!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:10:00 PM  

Eric, that's how I've been, lately! Although when I spend all day, it's 12 or so hours, and some of it's spent reading. It's still too slow for what I need to get done, lately!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:13:00 PM  

Ugh, Liz, the time thing! You know what takes a long time for me? The thinking! The thinking time takes forever! And I seem to need more thinking time as time goes on, LOL.

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:14:00 PM  

Karen, that's awesome! I envy you! I'm determined, now, to operate MONTHS ahead of schedule. I hope. I don't like the time pressure!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:14:00 PM  

Nadine, thanks! I hope so!

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:15:00 PM  

LOL, G. I used to be faster. I have more time to write, now, and it seems I'm just slowing down and getting the same amount done.

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:18:00 PM  

Charles, me too. Gosh, me too. I'm working on it, LOL.

spyscribbler 4/26/2009 01:19:00 PM  

Aimless, that's great advice! This weekend, I've found that letting go of the result helps, too. Which is pretty much the same thing as your silly technique! Must do!

Lauren 4/26/2009 09:13:00 PM  

One thing that I like about your blog is how you always seem to end with a question to your readers. Everything does get crazy when you get behind. You spend time catching up in one area and you are further behind in another. Eventually you catch up. It will happen, I promise.

Oh, and about that 1k an hour...jealous! Actually I am even jealous about the 400 words. I'm a super slow writer so that's even better than I usually do. :)

WendyCinNYC 4/27/2009 10:11:00 AM  

I don't write all that quickly, either, but I never really did. I can't get the speed and quality to come at the same time, so speed gets sacrificed.

spyscribbler 4/27/2009 11:00:00 AM  

Thanks, Lauren! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it doesn't feel like it yet, you know? It will be SUCH a relief when I catch up!

I have to tell you, I write non-fiction at the rate of about 50-100 words an hour. I am really not kidding!

spyscribbler 4/27/2009 11:01:00 AM  

Wendy, that makes sense! I think my "pre-editing" has really slowed me down. For me, I've been learning this weekend that it's quicker to make a mess and then clean it up, than it is to write carefully.