Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Slog

I got 8 hours of sleep for the first time in over two weeks last night.  The fact that those hours were 3 am to 11 am is irrelevant.  *g*  But starting so late means I haven't had a lot of chair time today.  I'll work hard for the next few hours and get up early tomorrow as per my new habit, but I'm starting to feel again like I'm treading water.

I am both excited for and (somewhat) disheartened by my friends who have kicked up their outputs lately.  Seems no matter what I do, even if it's getting up way early and planning to spend the entire day writing, I can't manage more than 2-3K a day.

Of course, having a toddler in the house is a distraction whether or not I hole myself up in the spare bedroom with my laptop.  A big part of my "lost" time has gone to him, which I don't really consider a loss.  (Today it was lunch and putting him down for his nap, then when he woke up he seriously spazzed out because I wasn't around, so I had to go calm him down and play with him a bit before he'd let me back upstairs.  Then it was dinner, bath, and bedtime.  But I'm a mom before I'm a writer, that t-shirt I like notwithstanding.)

And I'll admit, as the scheduled date for my braces appointment nears, some of my attention has been drawn back to preparing for that.

But the main thing for me has been the organization.  I've written 95K to date, primarily in chunks.  Going through the story and knitting everything together is eating up loads of time.  I might spend over an hour on 200-300 words that round out a chapter, or tie up a loose end, or smooth the transition from one event to another.  When I'm free-reining it on random chunks, my pace is usually twice that, at least.

The part of the book I'm in now, late Act II moving into Act III, is the part with the biggest gaps.  And they're the detail-filled gaps, the stuff that a) I've been avoiding and 2) takes more time to visualize, because it incorporates all that has come before and sets up for the climax and end of the book.  Oh, and it's the really historical bits.  This is the run up to Glencoe, and I'm constantly fact/date checking.  [Brackets] won't help me here, because I can't visualize the scene without knowing exactly what's going on in the bigger picture.

So even though I had put up to chapter 17 in order over the weekend, it took until today to really complete parts of 15 and 17 and get halfway into 18.  Now I'm staring probably two chapters' worth of blank pages in the face, and though most of Acts III and IV (with Glencoe itself the notable exception) are already down, there will still be extra writing for that.  Finish on Sunday - or today for that matter - what was I thinking?

Nevertheless, I've revised my goal to the end of this week, and I'm going to keep slogging at it until I finish or collapse from exhaustion.


Beth said...

2-3K a day with a toddler in the house is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Heck, it's an accomplishment for a writer with NO kids in the house. Why are you so hard on yourself? :)

Jenny said...

Hey, Beth!

Thanks for the kind words. I was a little easier on myself in the following post. *g*

And the 2-3K a day is my _peak_. Average is more like 500-750, and for the past few months not even that.

I tend to be hard on myself in general. I'm always comparing myself to others, which isn't healthy (or fair) but does at least keep me motivated. *w*