learning curve

Besides the “print the book out when you’re stuck” thing that you’d think I’d have learned by now, there are other learning curve bits you’d think I’d have picked up on by now. Like: time spent doing things for me is not actually wasted time that I should be spending writing, because it makes me happier than sitting there drawing blood from my veins trying to get words onto the paper.

I whine a lot about needing to get a life. For the first time it’s actually come home to me that this is more of a genuine need than just feeling like I Should Be Doing Other Things. It’s also about the fact that I tend to behave, when writing a book, as if nothing else is important. This results in a few days of gung-ho writing and then the words stop and I don’t know why and I sit there glowering at the computer and struggling through a few hundred or couple thousand words and not enjoying myself at all while I wonder what the hell’s wrong with me. But I don’t let up, because hey, deadlines, and it gets progressively worse until I finally go *do* something else (*anything* else) and then I get up the next day and write 5200 words standing on my head. Which is what happened today, after a perfectly lousy day yesterday and a slightly less lousy one the day before and a not especially good one the day before that.

It’s very easy for me to extend my stop-writing time, if I haven’t hit my wordcount. That allows me to screw around when I should be writing, because hey, who really cares if I don’t get the words done by 2, since there’s nothing actually stopping me from staying at the computer until 5?

Well, *I* need to care. Staying at the computer until 5, when I’ve started at 7am, is insane. It also doesn’t make me *any* more productive, although it does make me increasingly crabby. I need to impose a 2pm quit time, which means it’s critically important I find something else to do–preferably out of the house to break me away from the computer entirely–by oh, say, 2:30pm several days a week. I would be happiest with myself if I went to the gym, but the only one worth going to is the Mardyke Arena in Cork, and I don’t know if I’d do that. Anyway, I have to think about what exactly I’ll do, but I will be a much happier person and writer if I turn the computer off at 2pm.

On a totally non-writing front, the people next door, who have spent the summer so far putting in a *lovely* conservatory and a largish brick deck and a swatch of green grass and another wooden deck with a storage unit on it, are in fact selling their house. I really, really like their back yard garden. I want their house. :)

I have to take a break from GG, because my internal monologue is starting to sound like the show. This is amusing, but not so good when I’m trying to write a book. One of the characters started sounding like Emily Gilmore. Gah.

Hey, : Rogue did use this line in the Ultimate X-Men universe! I can’t decide if I’m relieved somebody did it or disappointed that I didn’t get there first (at least as far as actual publication was concerned :)). I still don’t think they’ve used it in the ‘real’ universe, though.

miles to Isengard: 173.5
ytd wordcount: 226,100


  1. ursulav

    It’s probably like art. I am often wracked with guilt when I am not making art–somewhere in my brain, a little voice is chanting “Slacker! Slacker!”

    But the thing is, the art has to come from somewhere, so I had to learn that the feeding-the-brain part is as critical and important as the milking-the-brain part. Whether that means taking a walk or going to the movies or the zoo or gardening or whatever–gotta do it. It’s the stuff that leads to the art stuff. I still occasionally feel guilty, but if I’m not dumping fresh stuff into my brain, I can’t expect my brain to produce fresh stuff for me, ya know?

  2. cammykitty

    Thanks for posting this. I was just talking about this same issue with Jerome yesterday, but not so eloquently. It’s sort of the if you haven’t lived a life, how can you create a life in writing problem. But it’s more than that. It’s all about balance. We tend to forget that the brain needs some time to work where we aren’t actively poking it and squeezing thoughts out of it. How’s that for an ugly image of writing? Don’t let the cartoonists help extrapolate on the poking and squeezing bit!

  3. debela

    Please go right ahead, only I’d prefer it awfully if the universe didn’t implode. I live here. I like it here.

    Creatvity wants inspiration; inspiration has to come from somewhere!

  4. aberdeen

    This is, in fact, exactly what the Writer’s Weekend’s Key Note Speaker’s Key Note Speech was about. She said, very clearly, “Go out and do something. Anything. Have a life outside of your house.”

  5. mizkit

    Uh. It’s the issue where Gambit kidnaps her for the Fenris twins, but I don’t remember what issue # it is ’cause I was re-reading it in a GN. :)

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