Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Slow Going

I don't think there's a writer alive who doesn't find themselves wishing they wrote faster. If not in general, then on this or that day or project. It doesn't matter whether you're a slow writer or, as in my case, a relatively fast one, you always wish you could go a little faster. That's how the third WebMage book has been going for me.

Last week and much of the week before that I was sick.

The week before was a travel week with three days eaten up on the road.

The week before that I was getting the final draft of my previous novel off to my agent.

The week before that was spring break and Laura was home instead of teaching. Even after 18 years, having her around distracts me from writing--I tend to spend a lot of time just being happily aware of her when she's around.

And that's a month of slow production, and there was another slow month before that. I'm just under half way through the novel after 3 months which is a bit over half the rate I'd hoped for and a third of my max production rate. It's very frustrating.

So, what do you do when you hit a slow patch? Besides whine about it on a blog that is;-)


Anonymous said...

Besides whining on my blog? I listen to certain music to get myself into "the mood" - or wade through the depths of the Apex slush pile. I've found that changing rooms or even my seat in a room helps a bit sometimes.

Tim Susman said...

When things get slow, it's because I haven't been able to think about the story in non-writing time, so I either dive into a book and stop trying to force it, or force myself to sit down and think hard about it--write an outline of the next chapter or the rest of the story. In a pinch, start writing another story that's more interesting and wait for the original to return. It comes back--least, it always has so far. *crosses fingers*

Erik Buchanan said...

Well, before I had ablog I used to whine to my wife. She's very happy I have a blog now.

Genrally if things are slowing down, I try and push through. Set myself specific targets to meet of an evening or day, and force myself to meet them.

If that doesn't work, or if the book had ground to a halt, I go back 50 pages and start reading and editing it, to see if I've lost the flow somewhere. That generally gets the ball rolling, though I occasionally lose a good chunk of text doing it.

Douglas Hulick said...

If having kids has taught me anything, it's stoicism in the face of writing adversity. Which translates to: regular production schedule? WHAT regular production schedule?

Between unexpected sicknesses, school vacations, random crises and so on, I've learned not to focus on how much I got done at any given time, but rather simply getting done. I've been forced to take the long view.

This wasn't easy for me, because I am very much a creature of habit in some ways. For a long time, I never used to be able to bounce back from having my writing time unexpectedly interrupted. Some days, I still don't.

Taking the "long view" gets frustrating in its own way, but I find that knowing I will get done, if not always when, is good enough for now. This will change (I hope) down the line, but if nothing else, it has shown me I can be adaptable in terms of what I want vs. what I accomplish writing-wise.

Now, if this sounds too well-adjusted and reasonable to be true, it is. There are plenty of times I snarl and growl about not getting things done faster, too. :)

Kelly McCullough said...

Very sensible thoughts all and thanks for sharing them. I ended up reading through the entire novel (41k at the time) and adding a series of adjustments to further punch up the main thread of the plot and set anchors for the chapters I've been working on seemingly forever. That made yesterday's scenes much more relevant and let me get 2,400 words down. I don't know if that means I'm moving again or not. I'll find out today. Going to go plunge in and find out now. Again, thanks.