Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mom was wrong: Why lolly-gagging is not (always) a bad thing

I have spent the last couple of years practicing the discipline of putting my butt in my chair and writing (almost) every day. I established a 7000 words-a-week goal -- except during NaNoWriMo when it was more.  I generally met my goal. When I was writing a first draft, I often wrote that much on a weekend.

Then I got tired and stale and didn't want to do it any more. All I want to do these days is read other authors' work. I've been tearing up the universe of e-book on Smashwords and the Kindle Store, and finding some amazing stuff that I love. I've also been reading some best sellers here and there. Lately I've had a hankering to revisit some of my old favorites. I think I may spend the summer reading some classics. That can only be good for a writer. (After all they're classics for a reason.)

All of this lying around reading made me feel a guilty because I haven't been writing anything  That adversely affects that damned word-count and flies in the face of our culture of constant productivity.

Then I saw this article from Write to Done. (A blog I subscribe to and read religiously.)I've never seen the phases of writing laid out in quite this manner. It was a moment of revelation for me.

For the past seven years or so, I've been doing all of the phases of writing simultaneously because most of the time I had at least three to four projects going on at the same time, each at a different stage of progress. I switched between them, depending on if I was in the mood to write something new or edit something that I'd already started.  It's no wonder I'm exhausted.

These days I'm down to two projects. One is ready to launch and other is a late-stage second draft. The latter project needs a lot of work before it sees the light of day.  I don't have anything else in the pipeline right now, but I think that's a good thing. I've been spreading myself too thin. It's time for me to step back and let the creative juices replenish, noodle around a bunch of new ideas and see what amazing new characters emerge from the mist.

So.

1 - I will quit feeling guilty for lying around the house reading for hours every day. It is not a sign of sloth. Or maybe it is a sign of sloth, but it is also good for my writer's soul.
2 - I will take advantage of living at the beach by doing much of my "noodling" while walking in the sunshine.
3 - Um.  There is no 3.  1 and 2 will keep me busy for now. It's almost summer (at the beach), which calls for stepping off the treadmill for at least a few hours a day.

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