Monday, June 19, 2006


Well, this morning I finished editing that scene I was talking about (it's at 90 percent, anyway, which will just have to do) and fixed up a few other things. And I found myself sitting there with only ten minutes left to write... procrastinating. You know, finding words (most of which are already in reasonably good order) to rearrange instead of actually doing something?

That's because some of my momentum's gone. I needed to fix that scene, but by using my precious writing time to do it -- particularly just before a weekend -- some of the forward thrust has faded.

Fortunately for me, I've dealt with this many times before, and know that by going right back to my 1K words/day schedule tomorrow, everything will be roaring along by Wednesday. But I think a lot of writers tend to stall out in situations like this. It's easy to take a little break -- now that I've fixed this, you think, why don't I go back and check everything else? Then you start rereading things umpteen thousand times and deciding it wasn't that good in the first place, and that maybe you should work on this other great idea you had last week instead...

You get the picture.

Coincidentally, I ran into a friend of mine today, and she asked me about how you sustain the writing of a book. Perhaps because we ran into each other at a gym, I told her writing a book was a lot like training for a race. You have little injuries, or technique issues you need to address -- and sometimes you're sidelined for a few days -- but if you stick to the schedule, you'll be prepared come race day. And you don't worry so much about how the swimming or the biking or the running looks. Sure, you do the best you can -- and there will always be things you can work on -- but the main thing is just showing up. Because if you don't show up, nothing will get done.

Writing's the same way -- you just have to stick with it. So don't stop! Don't get mired in editing your first three -- or thirty-three -- chapters! If you have to, do your daily quota first -- and then go back and tinker. But approach writing just as you would training -- only instead of running X miles, you'll be writing X words daily. (With the occasional rest day, of course -- I take weekends off.) Keep to the schedule, and in the end, you -- and your book -- will be fit as a fiddle!

Well, now that I've gotten up on my online soapbox instead of taking the nap I intended to (thank you, Mary Poppins), I'm off to clear a spot on the kitchen counter and cook dinner for my dad. (No, it's not Shake 'n' Bake.)

In the meantime, keep writing... and I'll be back soon!


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