Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Big Question: Is It Me Or The Book?

So, yesterday I started my next series. I decided not to use the French plot I had developed, because I like those characters too much and since this is the prequel to two other books, I knew that the main characters in this book would be happy by the end but dead by book 2 (sorry, spoiler, but I haven't written them yet, so might change my mind). So, of course, I didn't want to use characters here that I might want to make an entire series of with all by themselves.

So I sat down to write yesterday morning with no idea where to go. An hour and a half later, I had only done 2000 words and didn't like most of them.

While at work, I thought I had a brainstorm and was excited coming back. After going to the gym and having dinner, I finally sat down to write at 8pm. With my new ideas in place, I cut what I had already written and chucked it in my zero-draft document (don't think I've covered zero-drafting yet, but I will, give me time). Starting from scratch, I soon found my ideas weren't leading to the rapid writing I had hoped. After over an hour of work, I had a total of 1000 words to show for it. Though I felt like had been writing reasonably constantly, but just at under half my usual speed.

So, that brought me to the awful question: is it me or the story?

If it is me, it might be that I've let myself get too tired or drained and I just need a break and my mystic powers will flow back. But what if it is the story? That this is a story that just doesn't want to be told? Or needs to be told but will be painfully slow and will require me to work twice as long each day? Then there is the possibility that it is just because it's the beginning of the story. Once I get into it, know my characters, know where I'm going, will I speed up?

See, these lead me to totally contradictory solutions:
  • I could take time off and just rest up, which would be good if I'm just a bit burnt out, but counter productive if it's actually just the nature of the story that it needs to be picked at constantly and carefully.
  • I could drop the story and try to work on something else, which would solve the problem if the problem is this story, but what if it is the nature of new stories, or this story, to be slow? And this solution exacerbates the problem it if is me.
The only real solution for me was to talk to my muse find out what he was up to and why this felt like it wasn't working. So, I finished last night with only 1,000 words written on the actual story, and spent some time praying and reading. It ended up also involving a bit of sleep as I was trying to pray. I took this as a divine indication that I was actually really tired.

Therefore, I slept in this morning instead of writing, allowing me to get just over 11 hours sleep. Glorious! I then spent the day fasting from food (normally I don't tell people when I fast, but this blog is about honest, so I will not hide my weird Christian things from you and ask in return you do not judge me too much) and prayed at lunchtime and on the way home. After having dinner (my fasts are arranged between God and myself so do vary but my all-purpose fast is from when I wake up until work finishes, or sun down, or 6pm or something like that) went to the gym, did a big shop (which did not impress my little arms after doing a weights work out) and then cracked it and cleaned out my fridge. Since my fridge has been smelling worse and worse for... lets just say quite a while, I must have had serious issues with my writing to make cleaning the fridge look attractive.

But at 8.15pm I sat down and decided I was just going to keep being faithful and write for the next two weeks. I might not hit my word targets because this story seemed to be coming out a lot slower, but I would write faithfully every day for my usual two sessions until the fortnight was up. If the entire thing was crap at the end, well, it was only two weeks. If, on the other hand, it was a slow blooming beauty, I would then put it aside to come back to later.

As it was, sat down to write for just over an hour, and got 2,500 words done. So, probably a mixture of me being tired, and needing to get into the story. Will need to see how tomorrow goes before final judgement.

For those who want to write on command, cannot recommend highly enough getting suitable amounts of sleep. That's my tip for the day. And on that note...

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