Monday, November 19, 2007

Pumping out those words

We've got 25 days left in our challenge, folks. The stress of the holidays is upon us. Family coming to visit, kids out of school, food to cook, houses to clean, gifts to buy, people to kick in the shin at the Fred Meyer half-off sock sale on Friday, etc. All in all it's a super busy time of the year and writing is likely not at the top of your list of things to do.

Alas, don't let it slip to the bottom! It may be stressful to try and find time to write, but trust me, you'll thank yourself. Imagine that it's early January and the holidays are over, kids in school, and you sit down to write. It's been over a month since you've really worked on your book. You're not "feeling it" anymore, lost track of where you were going. You are down on yourself because you haven't added any words to it since the middle of November. The stress is overwhelming so you close up the document and don't open it again for a couple of weeks.

I've done this before, a couple of times. It's so hard to get back into the swing of things.

Rather than let this frustration get the best of you, take a few minutes once a day or a few times a week to just read over the last part you wrote - to keep it fresh in your mind. Or add in a few bullet points of what you want to happen next, or things you want to make sure to include. Just something to keep your book brewing in your mind during the holidays.

I'm going to try and practice what I preach. 25 days left people, push through it! You can do it! And remember, if you know you won't meet your 100-day goal, that's ok! Just try and get as close as you can. Don't stop now.


Alice Sharpe said...

Okay, I'm finding myself a little envious of those who can stop for the holidays. When I started this project a collective groan arose from my family : "There goes Christmas."

Anyway, Lisa, I agree that allowing yourself to drift away from a book can be deadly. The few days becomes weeks becomes months and you are so consumed with guilt and antipathy when you finally to come back that you have to fight that battle as well as all the others.

I would add that rather than just reading it, it's important to invest in it. Like you said, making notes about what comes next, outlining the next chapter in the some way, etc...

And I'll add this. If writing is something of a hobby or a tack on job you love but you do have full time work to pay your bills, I can see that letting it drop for awhile is going to happen. There is just so much time and energy and if family obligations good and bad take up the time you usually write, what are you going to do?

But if writing is what you do, then to heck with dropping it for six or seven weeks. That's eking up on a sixth of the year! Teachers don't get off that amount of time nor do office workers or bus drivers or the grocery clerk. And if you've developed a writing every day mentality through a writing challenge, don't let it drop, don't give it an excuse or you'll be back where you started in a few weeks, carrying around the extra weight of pumpkin pie and missed opportunities.

Alice Sharpe said...

I forgot to say Woo Hoo, Lisa, for 1700 words on Saturday! (She reported this on the Eli's Blog challenge.)

Way to go. I'm 30,000 words behind, too.

Timely blog.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Well said, Lisa. And great reply, Alice. I have nothing better to add except to say, write on, everyone. ;)

Karen Duvall said...

Thanks for the pep talk, Eli and Alice. I've let a writing project sit for way too long before, and getting back into it was torture! Right now I think about the story every night when I go to bed and every morning the second I wake up so that it's always fresh on my mind. Plus, this story has really complicated plot threads and I'd go mad trying to get my mind back in sync with them again.

I don't plan on slowing down much over the holidays. My kids are in Colorado, and my oldest daughter is hanging with her new boyfriend and his family this year, so it's just hubby and I and his mom. Holidays are actually my excuse to write! All my clients will be vacationing soon so I won't have to worry much about jumping through their hoops for the next month or so. Whee!

Danita Cahill said...

although I haven't kicked anyone in the shins lately over a pair of knee highs lately, I have been shopping, wrapping and thinking about cooking. Haven't got too far on the cleaning since it's just us for Thanksgiving this year.

And you are so right about keeping our stories fresh in our minds. I am still going through mine now -- the final comb through, looking for too many onlys and justs and verys, you know. And checking every sentence for the simplest way to say whatever the heck it is I'm trying to say. Deciding if that word/sentence really needs to be italisized. I worked on it last night, and the day before. I try to do at least a chapter every day, depending on what other complications life heaves at me.

Good cheering post though. Good job.

And how is traffic looking on this site? Anyone from anywhere interesting peeking in?

Paty Jager said...

Okay, it kicked me off!! As I stated earlier... Great topic, Lisa!

As soon as the TWRP project that has to be ready to publish on December 12th is done- I can really hit my WIP in the mean time I'm getting some small increments on it, but I am keeping it firmly in my head. I think about it all the time.

Good answers everyone!