Write Fatgirl Write!

So, I might have overtrained.

Yesterday I crashed a bit. I could tell when I started that I wasn’t up to par. Some days I can just feel it, that the words aren’t going to flow.

I don’t want it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, so I make myself write anyway. But I’m not sure that’s best.

For some reason, Tuesdays are often like that for me. I’m kind of considering taking Tuesdays off from writing, if they’re all going to turn out like that.

I didn’t make my 1.85 K. I wrote 1270 new words and deleted a whole bunch of stuff. Frogging again. I kind of hit a blind pocket in the story and, in brainstorming with KAK, realized I had to go back and redirect an earlier scene, which meant deleting an entire scene that now never occurs.

The upshot is I ended up 200 words down. Alas.

Now I have to stop there and acknowledge that writing 1270 new words is really good. A step up from my 1K. So not bad for a “bad” day.

Elizabeth Ryann asked me in the comments yesterday if it helps that I have a definite time to stop writing, because I switch to the day job and I cavalierly said yes. Which is true, it normally does.

However, yesterday was such a grueling day with so little accomplished, that I had Sterling up on my personal laptop for most of the day, trying to add a little more when time allowed, trying to hit that finish line.

Finally I realized I was doing the equivalent of Simon Pegg in Run Fatboy Run, dragging myself along in the middle of the night, long after the marathon has ended.

There’s something to be said for pushing yourself, for holding yourself accountable to meet the goal. But there’s also a time to realize that you’re only exhausting yourself.

And likely only putting down words that will have to be deleted anyway.

So, I’m still going for my 1.85K each day. But I’m holding myself to my stop time. If I’m feeling it and I need to, I might do another hour or so at the end of the day.

Feel the burn!

Creative Conditioning

The moon and Venus last night, from our bedroom window, with the lights of Santa Fe below.

Not perfectly crisp, but close.

I’m feeling creaky today. On Sunday I engaged in a major weed-pulling effort. I reaped the reward of all the laziness I sowed the last few weekends, which means it took me a few hours. Of bending and pulling. Only a little sore in my muscles yesterday, I didn’t give it another thought.

Today I’m feeling it.

In college, I briefly dated a ballet dancer. Beautiful body, but unfortunately quite wooden in bed. At any rate, he told me that they’d learned that it takes a full night and day before you feel the physiological effects of something. So he’d feel a grueling dance workout, not the next morning, but the following one. Same for eating heavily or lightly. It’s an interesting tidbit of information, but it probably says something that that’s what I remember best about him…

Yesterday, my 1.85 K was more difficult than Sunday’s.

Sometimes I think writing can be like working out. On a given day, it’s not hard to stretch yourself and go the extra mile, do a bunch of yardwork, add some weight to the machine. You might not even really feel it the next morning. But after two days of it, I’m feeling a little tired in my brain. It doesn’t make sense to me that I’d have only so much writing energy, but I keep running up against that.

It would probably make more sense to gradually add words, like I gradually increase the weight I lift or the distance I run. Mental conditioning, as it were. Or Creative Conditioning. An extra 50 words a day and soon I’m staying up all night writing Interview with the Vampire in less than a week.

(Though I’m fairly convinced cocaine was heavily involved in that particular effort.)

So, here I am, warming up, stretching my muscles. Bouncing up and down a little to juice up those ligaments.

It will feel good when I’m done.

A Single Step.

These yellow columbine are growing with crazed bushiness right now. I’m thinking I need to plant some rose bushes behind them, in the corner just there.

Pink ones.

Maybe a climber with a trellis. I still haven’t put up any of the trellises I brought from the old house. Now I must be more ready to deal because I’m thinking about them and about climbing roses.

You know I’m big on the one-step-at-a-time thing. I can’t deal with everything at once, but I can get things set up one by one.

The journey of 10,000 miles and all that.

This weekend I went to the LERA meeting (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) and Gabi Stevens confessed immediately “I always read your blog, but I never comment. I feel really bad about it.”

Which made me laugh. (Hi Gabi!)

And, of course, I told her there’s absolutely no onus to comment. It’s always fun to get comments, but I must admit, one of my blog-reading peeves are posts that are clearly set up only to elicit comments. You know the ones, little more than a remark and a question. To me, that’s less like writing and more like soliciting.

Gabi, whose first book, The Wish List, came out from Tor in May, with two more to follow (I know – sweet deal), said well, yes, but she’s trying to get better at the social media thing and she knows commenting is part of that and that’s her next step.

Fair enough.

(I offered to help her figure it out, so let’s see if she comments with a link to her site. If not, we need to nag her.)

I returned from the meeting feeling fired up to finish Sterling, which is all one can really ask for from a writers meeting. Matt McDuffie, who teaches screenwriting at University of New Mexico, and apparently has little internet presence, gave an energizing presentation on story structure. Nothing I didn’t know before, but still stimulating. Listening to him talk, I could trace my story with it and feel where the next steps are going. I know I’m coming up on the crisis, the Act II climax, though it’s taking a bit longer to get there than I thought. The way it’s looking now, what I thought would be a 90K book looks like it’ll come out around 113K, which is fine. I’m on track for that.

Which is good, because KAK came back from her meeting (lots of RWA groups meet on the second Saturday of the month – kind of an odd synchronicity), where Bob Mayer, who does the whole warrior-writer thing and has and exhaustive internet presence, got her fired up about accountability and goals.

And it turns out he’s a fan of spreadsheets, too. So there.

So between KAK wanting to synchronize our goals and my screenwriting induced re-evaluation of my story arc, I discovered I had to up my daily wordcount goal if I’m going to make it by mid-July.

So no more 1K/day. I’m upping to 1850/day. I made it yesterday, pretty easily. We’ll see if I can sustain it during the work week, too. The story is moving faster now, so that helps. Less time staring at the screen wondering what happens next. If I’m writing well, I can write about 1K/hour, so this should be doable.

One day at a time.