Wednesday, March 05, 2008

All about the flow...

Okay, so why do I keep missing my DWT blog post days? Not drinking enough, obviously.

Today, because I have no topic again, I'm dumping what's on my mind, and that's flow. Flow in terms of having it, losing it, keeping it, and how to keep the momentum going forward in a manuscript. (Not momentum in terms of story pacing... I mean momentum in terms of getting that hopefully fast-paced story in my head down on the page.)

I've made so many declarations about "what works for me" over the past few years it's not funny. Maybe it's funny to some people, (stop laughing at me, Molly and Sinead) but not to me. I wrote the bulk of my first women's fiction ms in a six-week-burst of energy, writing an average of over 2000 words a day. The key was not stopping. Not looking back. Not thinking too much. It took me about the same length of time, six weeks, to edit and revise what I'd written... some very long days. But it worked.

After that, I thought I had it all figured out. That I'd found my "process", that all future books would pour out of me in the same way. Was I ever wrong.

I'm not even sure how many projects I've started since finishing that one. I've only completed one more, but I think I worked on at least four others that still languish in WIP-land. Really more like WFIP-land. (Work formerly in progress.)

But I finally have a project I think is a keeper and so does my agent and so I want to finish it quickly. I wrote the first 27,000 words in about 4 weeks. 4 weeks that included me having major surgery, so kind of an impressive writing speed for me. I took nearly 2 weeks to revise those pages... but still, not bad.

But then I stopped working on it for about 10 days and my flow has gone, deserted me, left the building. I'm having trouble getting kick started again. My daily word count the past 5 days has been respectively: 137, 490, 420, 28, and 757 so far today. I need to get that back up to over 2000 a day to finish this first draft when I want to. I was only targeting 1200 a day when I set the schedule. Damn. (Okay, my SIL was in hospital and gave birth over those five days... but still... I had enough time to get some writing done.)

My real problem is letting things f*ck with my head. Letting other things happening in my life screw with my ability to concentrate and get my pages done.

Must get the juices flowing again. Must keep my butt in the chair. Must keep off e-mails and blogs. ;-)

Back to work!


Anonymous said...

There is something about flow and mindset, and writing most days of the week.
I'm terrible for losing flow, terrible, and the only way I've gotten it back on the current WIP is to give myself permission to write total crap.

Anonymous said...

Just write it - don't judge it. :)

Barrie said...

You can do it, Maureen. I have total faith in you.

Annette Gallant said...

A group of us from my local chapter get together and write at Starbucks. We write in half hour sessions, break for ten minutes then repeat. We're always amazed by how much we write. And the collective energy is a good motivator as well.

Also, one of my critique partners and I write and then check in by email with each other. Keeps us accountable.

Sometimes it's hard to be motivated when you're by yourself.

Good luck! You'll get in the groove again. :-)

Kimber Chin said...

Flow is why I write only during my summers off. It takes more energy to start and stop than it does to keep going. Allocating large chunks of time is the lazy way out (and I'm all about lazy).

How do I get back into the flow?

I read a piece of my writing that I love. The memory of how I felt while writing that piece puts me back in that place.

Molly O'Keefe said...

were you a crammer in college? Only studying the night before, etc? Because you do your best work under pressure. Not writing wise - you do great with that anytime - but flow and butt in chair wise. You seem to need pressure and deadlines etc... I think the fact that your agent loves this book should be considered huge pressure for you right now to get it out the door. Time is ticking...

I also really buy that working in short amount of time thing -- it so so so works for me. Might not for everyone but I can get more done in 2 hours a day than I can in a whole Saturday to myself. Not that I've had one of those in a while... but still.

K J Gillenwater said...

This has happened to me, too! Same exact thing...and it is maddening. I wrote 25,000 words in a week. Then, got another 20,000 or so over several more weeks. And the ka-blammo! I stopped DEAD in my writing tracks.


I'm starting to get back on the horse, but it is sheer torture. 2 pages one day. 4 the next. Which sounds like a lot, but when you wrote 100 pages in a week, that kind of pace seems snail-like. And it does depress you and then make it even harder to keep going.

But it really is mind over matter. You just have to MAKE yourself do it, and then, over time, the magic returns...and you wonder why you waited so long to get back to the book in the first place.

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