With the exception of a few conversations over the phone with my husband and mother, I didn’t have live interaction with another human being all weekend (chatting with my CPs online doesn’t count). The only talking I did was to the dogs. I edited. Wrote. Slept a lot. And I read. It was fantastic.
I didn’t get as much writing as I’d like, but I’m so not worried about it. I made it through edits and rewrites on the first half of Devil’s Eye. This morning I actually woke up thinking about the plot and had an idea of how I could improve it. It’s a nice change from waking up and thinking “Oh, God, it’s not done yet.”
So I learned (or reconfirmed) a few things over my weekend of relative silence.
- I need silence. This is not new. It’s something I’ve always known about myself. But it’s something I don’t give as much priority as I should, which means I spend a lot more time on the Crazy Train than I ought.
- There is no substitute for dancing in your kitchen to jazz with a glass of wine while cooking dinner–except possibly doing the same with your main squeeze.
- I do not have to spend every waking moment of my day doing something productive. This is a hard one for me. When you have so much on your plate, and you’re constantly multitasking, the idea of just sitting and doing nothing is simply unfathomable. I was talking to a friend last week about this. She’s a SAHM of 2 small ones and runs a web business from home in addition to her duties as a pastor’s wife. Even if nothing actively interrupts her every ten minutes, she winds up interrupting herself. Oh, time to put the bread in the oven. Time to start the laundry. I should fold that load that just came out of the dryer. Yep, I so do these things. It’s a Sisyphean task to try and keep up with the constant mountain of things that need doing, and letting something slide is really hard to do. There’s always that niggling “but I should be…” But sometimes you gotta.
- The SFD (Sh*tty First Draft) method relied upon by so many who do NaNo, Fast Draft, or any of these other short time frame writing challenges does not work for me. I have concluded that it’s just NOT for me. Spewing just to get words on the page for the sake of having words makes no sense if they aren’t the right words and you don’t know what they’re supposed to accomplish. Having words on a page to edit does not mean you’re any further along if you haven’t thought out the purpose of the scene. Of the second half spew I did on Devil’s Eye, I am keeping 1, count it, ONE scene out of TEN. I can’t just edit what’s there because what’s there is wrong. I am inclined to think this method only works for pantsers who have to write a whole crappy draft to figure out the story and then go back and start over again.
This has always been a big thing for Pot. The whole concept of SFD drives her nuts and she rarely ever participates in these short frame writing challenges for that reason. She’s not into setting a daily word goal or even necessarily daily writing just to write if you don’t know where you’re going. And that works great for her because when she sits down, she generally DOES know where she’s going and manages to write out a whole scene in one chunk. Boom!
That’s not how it works for me. I set the daily writing goal for three main reasons: 1) It helps me keep my head in the story, 2) It helps me prevent page fright, and 3) It helps me keep moving forward and building word count since I have limited writing time. It means I can usually fit something in because 500 words is (mostly) manageable in my life as it stands without my having to blow stuff off. Plus, 500 words isn’t too much to delete if I’ve gone a bit off track.
- So I’m no longer worrying about when Devil’s Eye gets finished and released. It’s a lot more important that it be right, that it be good so that it serves its intended purpose of drawing people into my world and wanting to read more, than it is for it to be out on a specific date. I’ll keep moving forward at my own pace (not a NaNo pace), and it will be done when it’s done.