Burnout and the Ambition Room

Good Monday, all. It’s been a work since you heard from me and let me tell you, it was one odd week. Burnout is always a looming specter when you write on the side of a full-time job, and it’s been looking over my shoulder quite a bit over the last few weeks, poking its bony finger into my shoulder every time my guard drops for even a minute. It’s not easy to guard against it, either, as writing moments are so often snatched from thin air, conjured when walking to my car or waiting in a crowded elevator. Those little moments add up in terms of word count and story development, but they also add up when it comes to burnout, too, and I reached saturation point on Friday.

This has been a difficult novel to write, and I’m well behind the schedule that I maintained for Room 3. It doesn’t help that with each passing day I feel as if the writing world itself might be leaving me behind. I can’t keep up the same pace as many other writers, and I know this about myself but I can’t seem to accept it. A part of me always insists that I could crank out more words if only I did this or did that, that the key to success is accepting “good enough” and not worrying about lingering issues like plot holes or consistent writing, but that just doesn’t seem right, and so it ends up taking far more words than usual to craft a story; City of the Dead, for instance, has easily 110,000+ words of material out there right now, but the novel itself is sitting at 83,000 words. Some of that excess is re-usable for future works (one deleted scene in particular is earmarked for Portal of the Dead), but you can see how frustration sets in.

Frustration, and doubt. I don’t know whether my problem is what fellow author Aniko Carmean refers to as “The Ambition Room”, but it does become rather easy to doubt the validity of what you’re doing in the absence of a growing readership. I’m well aware that it’s become more difficult than ever to capture that audience, but there are times that it can’t help but settle on your bones.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the moment – trying to ward off burnout and stay on target. Been here before and gotten through it, so now it’s just a matter of pulling through once again.

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Down in the Weeds: My Dirty Writing Habits

Happy Friday, folks. I don’t know about you, but I find shortened work weeks to be a mixed blessing; confusing at best and frustrating at worst. Oh, I enjoy the extra day off, don’t get me wrong, but…well, I deal in something that’s quantitative just as much as qualitative. I have a word count goal no matter how many “work days” we have in a given week. I know it would seem that a day off from work would give me more time to chew through that word count, but I’m also human. I’d like to enjoy that occasional day off, and that can throw a real wrench in the works. Guilt and/or frustration can build up and before you know it, I’m beating myself up for just wanting to take a break. It’s an unhealthy habit.

Which brings me to today’s topic. You see, I have some bad writing habits. I admit it. I’m a Bad Writer. I do things that probably shouldn’t work. For example, I don’t keep a set time to write, as is suggested in most writing manuals. I find that doing this transforms writing from something fun to an ongoing chore. So I grab writing time where I can. Sometimes it’s at my desk, with a cup of tea or a Mountain Dew, my mind locked into some story. Sometimes I write on the elevator, when a particularly good conversational exchange has popped into my head. I’ve written on trains, when a particularly vivid image grabbed me, and I’ve written during walks. I manage to get a good amount of writing done even with this strange schedule, for I believe in making writing itself a part of your daily routine, something that you don’t just visit once in awhile, like a country, but part of a lifestyle.

I don’t have an action plan. Oh, sure, I have a rough schedule in my head, and I know which books fit into my writing future in roughly which order, but I don’t have a plan that specifically states “you will start on Friday February 22nd and write 2,000 words a day. This manuscript will be 60,000 words and thus you will be finished by X date.” I know, that’s supposed to be a Good Writing Habit. I’ve tried it. It actually made me write less because, again, the whole thing became a mechanic, another function, rather than a living breathing thing.

My writing space is a mess. People say your surroundings are a reflection of your inner world and…well, yeah. I have to admit that’s accurate in my case. I’m not talking hoarder levels of mess or anything, but for a number of reasons I do tend to spread out and my organizational skills could certainly use some work. The damn thing is that that’s how my brain works. That’s where I find things like the random image of someone clutching their chest in a dramatic turn of events – my mind is filled with clutter, and every so often I turn it over and find something incredibly useful. Sometimes it feels like I’m one of those junk artists who pulls all that crap together to make something more valuable. I’ve been told that this is a common state of mind for us ADHD sufferers, and the trick is to learn how to live with it and be productive rather than letting it destroy things.

For a long time, I thought that these bad habits made me deficient somehow, that I couldn’t do what other writers did and therefore would find limited productivity and success. I realize that’s crap now. My number one lesson is learning that writing, for me, is a spiritual exercise. Creativity is about communion with something greater than oneself, whether you consider it the collective subconscious, upper or lowercase god, or simply unrealized self. When you think of it that way, doesn’t this make a whole lot more sense? For some folks, the best path to spirituality is through organized, rigorous practice – and I think that’s just fine. For other folks, like me, spirituality is best found through the vicissitudes and messiness of ordinary life, a series of events that slowly accumulate into a whole much greater than the sum of those rough-and-tumble parts.

To put it simply, my creative and spiritual processes, for whatever reason, defy categorization and standardization. That troubled me for quite some time, but I think that I’ve come to terms with it. No, better, embraced it, and I can now be proud of being a “Bad Writer”.

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Progress Check: The Joy of Writing

As I mentioned yesterday, this is my last post heading into the weekend. I’ll have posts Saturday (another great interview) and Sunday, but tomorrow I’ll be dark while we carry out a site migration. I’m excited about the changes that are coming, and the new features that I’ll be able to offer, some of which I’ve been eyeing since last Summer. More details will come as I roll the features out.

I’ve been puzzling somewhat hard over exactly what I would write about today. What was so important that it would have to hold for two days? I brainstormed. I read around for good blog topics. I racked my brain trying to come up with something great. Then I realized the answer was right in front of my face: write about writing. Continue reading

Be Like the Squirrel: Marketing of the Dead

I finally finished the Art of War for Writers the other day, and since it’s been so influential on this site for such a long time, I thought I owed it at least a bit of a nod. I really enjoyed it; in fact, if anything, it’s almost too dense, as trying to keep in mind all of its teachings is a difficult affair at best. It’s probably something that I’ll need to revisit every now and then, to see how my own perception of some of the wisdom contained within. I thought about going back to review some of what I’d written about the book on this site, but it was way too much to sift through. Even if you’re a writer who rarely reads books about writing, I’d say it’s worth a purchase.

I’m moving on now to a book about self-publishing, which I’m sure will arise from time to time. It’s already given me the inspiration to create a (semi) daily marketing plan of how to reach out and become a little more ingrained into the writing and reading communities.

Which brings me to the real topic of today’s blog, which occurred to me as I was brushing my teeth this morning – funny how and where inspiration strikes. Once upon a time, the idea of putting together a novel seemed nebulous and intimidating. So I evolved a process to go at the goal with smaller, incremental goals. Then it became the act of putting together a coherent novel. So I refined that process and broke things down into even smaller steps. Now I’m at a stage where I have a pretty decent process that works for me and keeps me writing five to six days a week at around 10,000 words a week.

Bringing us back to the ever-tense tooth-brushing, I know this is where things get real. As I was brushing I was thinking about marketing the novel and my “brand” itself and how I had kind of gone about it in a haphazard way. Oh, sure, the website has given me a platform and presence of sorts, but I need to expand it. That’s when it occurred to me to use the same concept that I used for evolving my fiction writing: break it down step-by-step. Make it into smaller goals.

So I pondered…how do I do that? Writing I know. Writing I get. For me, it seems easy enough to look at how a story or an essay is composed, break it down into its component parts, and examine how I could apply those parts to my own process. I think Stephen King said something once about how examining a plot is like taking a look at a fellow mechanic’s work under the hood, and that analogy works a lot for me. I can look at that and just sort of get what they’ve done.

But marketing…well, that’s another beast. It’s not that I don’t think I’m capable. I’m pretty sure I am, but I’m not a natural at it. It’s something that I’m going to actively have to work at learning, and I’m only just starting to get that. With that in mind, where to start on marketing myself?

The answer, I think, is in approaching marketing like my writing. One of my most faithful tools is the weekly word count. I’ve noticed my skill level jumping appreciably week-over-week as I hover around that word count. So why not apply the concept to marketing? Set daily (or cumulative weekly) goals that aren’t too rigid or interfere with my writing, and try to hit those targets as best as I can. It has the benefit of being consistent, keeping my brand from being forgotten, and also of being fairly non-intrusive on my writing life.

So I set up some simple goals today, and will see how well I can live up to them – and if they are, in fact, effective. After that, it’s a matter of tweaking them, just as I have with my writing process.

There’s probably a lesson about life itself to be learned there, trying what works and throwing out what doesn’t, breaking larger goals down into smaller ones and then being adaptable to changes when they come, making the process of achieving just about anything a living, breathing organism.

But that might just be an extrapolation that’s out of this site’s scope. Just an idea. Who can say if it’s something to be expanded upon?

And since it’s Friday, the song which I’m referencing in the title…

It’s so Easy: I Hit the Bulls-Eye Every Night

I would like to say that it’s time to get back to it, but I never really stepped away from things this past weekend. We had a writer friend over on Saturday, and one of our favorite things to do as a group is “Word Wars”. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, it seems to come from NaNoWriMo, and it’s just a method wherein several writers set a timer and see who can write the most words during that period. For us, it’s ten minutes, and I usually come in near the top. I blame my typing speed more than anything else, honestly, though this weekend I really was on a tear as it was time to write the grand reveal in Corridors of the Dead. The reveal is now mostly done (along with the climax), and now I have to face down what the reveal means and how it impacts the characters and where they go from here. I mean, I know how it goes for the most part, it’s just interesting to see such a world-shattering revelation revealed to the protagonist and what it means for the falling action of the novel. Not to mention that she will be the only person who knows this secret through the next book.

What I’m trying to say here is that I’ve been keeping up with the writing fairly well, despite the last two weeks being something of a choke-point. I’m almost completely caught up on my word count deficit, and I see the path to the next novel pretty clearly. It’s a good time.

So why am I feeling so muddled and having some trouble getting things together, even to write this entry? My guess is it’s a combination of not feeling very good and losing a cat on Friday night. She had been sick for quite some time, and it wasn’t totally unexpected, but that doesn’t make it a whole lot easier, you know? I’ll definitely miss her. But life goes on, and I know that sometimes the healing process is best served by continuing on with the comfortable rituals that we’ve established. For me, at least, sometimes setting aside that structure can trigger its own downward spiral. So the old adage is the best: just write. No matter what comes out.

Today’s topic comes to courtesy of the Art of War for Writers. The other night I tweeted a particularly salient tip that had never really occurred to me when thinking about writing:

Every scene in your novel should have that moment or exchange that is the focal point, the bull’s-eye, the thing you’re aiming at. If your scene doesn’t have a bull’s-eye, it should be cut or rewritten.

It seems pretty simple, so it flabbergasted me that it never really occurred to me. Most interesting is that, as I read Shoeless Joe, the book that would eventually become Field of Dreams, I’ve found that this concept holds true, even if the plot itself meanders at times. I was especially struck when Ray Kinsella goes to drop off JD Salinger (who would be replaced by the excellent James Earl Jones in the movie), and Salinger reveals that he knew the secret that Kinsella saw at Fenway. It was a great little punch at the end of the chapter and kept me reading for quite some time last night.

The book is full of those moments; the scenes meander from time to time, then hits you square in the gut right before the scene closes, compelling you to find out what happens next. I’m also reading Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling, and while I enjoy it, I realize now that part of the reason I’m struggling to stay engaged is because the scenes don’t really have this kind of punch. The problem, of course, is that it’s a fantasy/sci-fi novel, and I’m currently in the setting/world-building phase of the novel. Those always tend to lose my interest before the novel starts to pick up again.

I suspect that’s part of why my own novels are either based in plays on our own reality or unravel the concept throughout the story. I mean, like the concept of fantasy, but world-building just bores me to tears, especially reading it. I’d much prefer to throw a character into a new world completely clueless, much like the reader, and learn about the world through their eyes. Thinking about it now I wonder why the rules of standard storytelling don’t apply to a fantasy story. I mean, for example, I really enjoyed the first Wheel of Time book, but so many of the world’s rules had to be established up front that it almost lost me. The second book lost me as the cast expanded and continued to expand. I wondered why I should care about all these different characters – what was my incentive when they would likely be killed off or replaced?

I know I’m rambling a bit here, but I guess I’m trying to say is that it seems fantasy novels can get away with a lot more exposition in the name of “world-building”, while I think a lot of them could stand to be more immediate and related to the characters, with the characters so often feeling like interchangeable parts. And that leads all the way back to “hitting the bulls-eye”. If you’re writing scenes that have to hit the bulls-eye, does it leave much room for exposition to build the world? I’m not sure. I’d like to see some examples of this, and will definitely be reading with the concept in mind in the future to see how other writers achieve this effect.

Down with the Sickness and the Hybrid Approach

This is going to be an interesting week, as I’m transitioning from one medication to another and at the moment I have quite a bit of brain fog, in that I’ll be clear for a little while and then the next thing I know my brain is just shot.

The interesting thing is that I’ve really gotten in a groove when I sit down and write with music – not typically my most productive form of writing. Yesterday I sat down and just pounded out a bunch of words while listening to this band Battles (finally “discovered” them upon learning that I had already had a couple of their songs before). Even though I felt like I was about to keel over, I was able to channel the characters and let them take over.

Right now my side-effects are dizziness; light-headedness; what they call “brain zaps“, which are moments of being completely lost in the fog; and exhaustion. Combine that with the insomniac properties of the new medication and, well, I’m just having a grand old time. But I’m dedicated to keep going. I view my writing as a legit job, and as such I can’t take too many days off, considering that last week I was a little bit short of my word count.

Before I get into today’s topic, I want to carry out an accounting of where I am in my process and what comes next. I’m very, very close to the end of Corridors of the Dead now. If I stick to my usual schedule and don’t have too many hiccups, I expect to have it done by the middle of next week. I follow a process where I write the story in my head and have a few days’ lead time before it gets to the page, and I’ve reached the end in my head.

The next step, as mentioned yesterday, is finding some beta readers, then setting the book aside for a week or two while I dive into the next book, which I haven’t started in my head yet but have a lot of details about. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s going to be a nod to Videodrome and Twin Peaks. These two stories were very influential for me.

Of course, the mockup for the cover is complete, as I said. I see a few changes that I want to make, a little tweaking, but for the most part I think it’s ready to go, which is pretty exciting. I also plan to do some research into the Print on Demand options this week then talk to the guy who’s been doing my graphic design work on what to do for the spine and the back. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it; there’s some time, as I don’t plan to make it available until Thanksgiving.

Already things are starting to come together in my head on how to run my writing and self-publishing as a business. I’m getting ideas about how to set up incentive plans and an overall business plan. Having a finished product will be a really good start. Obviously, there are still some edits to be made, but I think it’s close right now, probably the closest I’ve ever felt upon finishing a first draft. I think that’s a product of internalizing a lot of things that I’ve learned over the last six months.

Now let’s talk about the original goal of today’s entry: how to blend character-driven and plot-driven. All I can really give you is my approach, because while I’m always aware of this, I haven’t studied it closely in other works. Meaning it’s a topic that I’l likely come back to in the future.

My own approach is that I start with the kernel of an idea and slowly add things on to it – like with this next novel, I woke up one morning with the idea of bringing the idea of Videodrome into the 21st Century (which is not entirely what the book will end up being about after all, rather the spark of the concept). As I drove to work, as mentioned before in how my process works, I dictated what I had in mind and new ideas.

Where I’m going is that I take these ideas and generate a loose, three or four paragraph write-up of what I want from the story, how I envision the story from my perspective. Then I get to know the characters, though this can be part of the plotting process. This is the case in this new novel – I already have images of the characters in my head, can hear their voices speaking to me.

While I’m doing this I also do any necessary research.

This is the key, however: having both an idea of the plot you want, even if it’s not going to be the ultimate plot. If I showed you the original plot of Corridors of the Dead from last November to now, well… Then you have to be aware of your characters and in tune with them. Spend time with them. Once you start getting into the writing of it, leave your preconceived notions out and yourself open.

At times your characters will stubbornly refuse to go down the path you want. If you hit a scene where your characters suddenly flatten out into cardboard cutouts and nothing is moving, that is the time to sit down and really think about what the character wants in that scene and how they would react. They will surprise you a lot of the time. As a matter of fact, in my rewrite, they surprised me so much that only three scenes came over from the old book. It’s basically a new story with the same characters.

What I’m trying to say is, in order to achieve that hybrid, you have to do the work of both: of a character-driven story and a plot-driven story. You have to have a solid concept of the plot (so you do the work of plotting) and you have to do the work of getting to know the characters. There’s none of this one-or-the-other business. At least, from my perspective.

I’d be interested in hearing what others have to say about how they plot and what their approaches are.

I’m looking at this week as plot and character week. The next entry is twofold: one is about how to get to better know your character. The second is part one of a two-parter on my top ten influential books, the ones I think of as my personal “pantheon”. This comes from an idea that I first saw from Paul Dail and which he drew from Worlds in Ink. I’m looking forward to it!

Wake Up

Exhaustion has set in over the last two days – I’m starting to feel like someone who’s been climbing a mountain and needs to stop at camp for awhile; last night I found myself barely functional. I suspect I need a nice, restful weekend, and though I was viewing some of our plans for this weekend through the lens of the effort involved, I might be coming back around to seeing those things (a barbecue, a concert) as a chance to unwind.

One thing is for certain, though – the time for a vacation is rapidly approaching, lest I burn out. It’s been close to two years since I last had one, and the stress of those years – momentous years, no doubt – is weighing heavily on me. During that two-year gap, even taking a day off has been a matter of some personal issue, as I have this nagging tendency to blame myself and feel guilty when I’m not in the office. My work ethic certainly works for and against me. Most of the time I’m grateful for it, but there are times that it drives me insane.

Here’s the issue: this exhaustion has left me a bit hollow when trying to summon things that I might say about my own writing. Don’t get me wrong, work continues all the same, and though I’ve already surpassed my weekly word count goal (took that off the site, updating it was becoming a chore), work will continue into the weekend. The book has taken on a life of its own, for better or worse. Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure how much I have to say about things at this point.

Okay, how about we chase a particular animal that’s been racing around my mind down into its warren. I have been thinking lately about how writing and the broader creative, artistic process functions as a method of bringing dreams into being. It’s simplistic to be sure, as there is also the issue of capturing and conveying emotion and the human experience that may or may not bear any resemblance to a dream. I do wonder, though, if that isn’t also tied in some way to the same thing, a need to capture some sort of dream-like state? No matter how literary or staid, literal or surreal the work, we’re all looking to reproduce inner states.

The subject is so close to my heart because I’ve always had intense and vivid dreams. For the longest time, it seemed like everyone had those dreams, but relaying my dream experiences over the years has led me to realize that my dreams are generally more intense, and certainly odder. As the nature of my dreams has become clearer to me, the inclination to trust them as a source for inspiration has also grown. They represent something unique about my point of view, and while I spent years downplaying my own experience in an effort to conform to “standards” and “accepted wisdom” about storytelling, I’ve come to realize that the best art IS the best because it so accurately captures what is unique about the artist.  So where a certain turn of phrase in conversation once seemed like something that wouldn’t work in my writing, it is now something that needs to be in my writing.

In short, I think that sometimes we seek so hard to recreate others’ views of what our writing should be in order to be marketable or salable that we discount the validity of our own experiences and how they might influence our works for the better. There’s an awful lot of accepted wisdom about what works that I fear has a stifling effect on young writers. I know it did on me, for an awfully long time. It was only once I learned to summon the courage to really trust my instincts and what made my writing mine that I felt I really started to take off, and I still have a long way to go, I know that.

This all comes back around to capturing dreams in that our dreams are perhaps the truest representation of who we are, and why we should strive to capture them in the truest manner possible. This theme is something that I’ll continue to flesh out as time goes on.

Taking a day off from the daily link, I think. Going to go focus on something else – there’s certainly plenty to work on.

Can’t Always Get What You Want

So the real question is, does time spent not writing still count as writing? I mean time when you’re not actively writing but are turning the story over in your head. Because while I didn’t physically write during this past weekend, I did make some significant progress on the novel rewrite, assembling the next chapter in my head. I feel like that should count for something, in some small way.

This period in my life has been very interesting, creatively speaking. When I first started this “comeback”, I started out with a hand recorder, dictating story ideas and then entire scenes as I drove. Eventually that stopped working and it was strictly writing on a netbook then transferring it over to another computer. Then handwriting. Then writing on the iPad. Then writing with music. Then writing without music. Now, it seems, I’m back to the voice recorder -> transcription method.

What lesson to take from this? The first is the importance of persistence. This is the longest sustained period of writing since…well, probably the mid-2000s. The second is the importance of listening to my brain when it’s time to shift methods and media. It’s becoming clear that the loss of momentum in the past has been tied to becoming disenchanted or bored with using a specific method of writing. Do I understand why I’m like this? Not really. I suspect it’s tied to my ADHD in some way, but figuring out the exact “why” of it is irrelevant because it’s not going to change. The best thing is to be aware of when it’s time to start shifting methods again. I am aware that, based on my typical annual schedule, in the next month or so I should shift back over to just wanting to write sitting at a computer with incense and a candle burning. *shrug* It’s weird, but it’s me. At least I know who I am, I suppose.

Reading has slowed down just a hair. Could be the heat, could be because I’m not reading anything that really excites me. Maybe it’s time to start looking for something more exciting. Already decided to drop the novel Haven because, as interesting as it may be, the poor grammar and sloppy writing is just driving me crazy. I often read in order to be inspired and learn something new, and it drives me crazy to feel like I’m editing someone else’s work rather than learning. Another lesson to learn: don’t push out any sort of first draft as a book to be published. What a mess.

Today’s blog to check out is Of a Writerly Sort, by Gabrielle (the Authoress, natch). She’s a recent high school graduate who is working on getting her career off the ground. She popped up as a link last week and I’ve been checking out her blog since then. Definitely worth a read! It reminds me of how I was at that age and how much I would have loved to have the chance to maintain my own blog about my writing. Be sure to check out the first chapter of her novel, available for preview and currently under edits. Definitely worth a read!

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Word Counts and Ambition

Today’s entry is a mishmash of concepts and ideas that have been banging around in my skull for the last few days. The first issue is the question of success and ambition, one that struck me when reading another piece in the great book Write Good or Die. The author of this particular piece, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, spoke about how a writer may achieve what looks like success to someone from the outside, and yet internally feels nothing like success. You can read the piece, by the way, on her site – right here. Read it. There are a lot of other important points that won’t be a part of what I’m talking about but that writers need to understand and which will eventually be addressed here as well.

What concerns us today, however, is that hollow victory feeling. This struck a nerve because it’s something that has been present in my own writing for quite some time. I’m quite aware of the good fortune in my life – after all, even though I work as a technical writer, every day is spent doing some form of writing, and getting paid to do so. Yet it’s always felt a little hollow. Lack of gratitude? No…I apparently enjoy my “day job” more than most others. But no matter what accolades, there is always this lingering feeling that there should be something more. That something more is success in fiction writing.

Now, however, I am working toward something better in fiction writing, and the question arises again: what is success? Is it winning an award? Is it making the New York Times Bestseller List? It’s a tormenting question, but it’s important to examine it. Let’s look at this categorically:

  • Getting an agent? Maybe. There are still some feelings to be worked through here. Sometimes feels like a necessary evil.
  • Publication? Absolutely. Even self-publication. This feels like an inevitability at some point, but it represents crossing a new barrier.
  • Winning an award? Yes. That would feel like success.
  • New York Times (or Amazon) Besteller List? Hardly. Sales figures are nice, but being a big music nerd, I’ve never viewed them as any sort of artistic validation. They’re simply a measure of whom is reached by a work, and some work is not meant to sell to anyone. That’s more than valid, it’s pretty damned wonderful.
  • Other? Honestly, it comes down to intent versus results. Does this book have potential for mass appeal? If so, does it attain some measure of that? Then it’s a success. Having said that, it occurs to me that I define success not by career milestones but by the milestones of a given story. For example, I don’t believe my current work would ever attain mainstream success; it’s far too niche. Gaining a modest audience and modest sales would be an astounding success. The next planned novel, however, will have a wider appeal, and I would hope it would gain more readers. Perspective, then, seems to be key.
So there we have it. I suppose the accusation of one of my college writing teachers remains true: I’m one of those “artistic types” for whom expression is more important than commercial viability. It was an affectionate accusation, by the way, and no reason to get offended over it. Guilty as charged.
The other issue is the question of daily writing goals and metrics to measure those goals. I had been maintaining writing hours in a spreadsheet, but ran into a problem yesterday when it became apparent that my writing time is becoming more efficient. Feeling drained but having written for a shorter period than usual, it was time to figure out what was going on – it dawned on me that I had burned through an entire chapter, not to mention writing a somewhat lengthy blog entry. Time to check word count – close to 3,000 words! According to this blog entry, that’s a more than reasonable daily goal.
So we run into the issue of improving skills and efficiency versus the old metrics. If I’m working fewer hours but the net effect is the same – exhaustion – then perhaps it’s time to start measuring by word count as well as time spent. Perhaps this is the other side of the word count coin, the tyranny that I’ve complained of in the past. We will see how this experiment plays out.
Tomorrow, I want to talk about the perils of First Person, as I’m trying to learn more about it.