Earlier this month I did a marathon writing session. It was a lot of fun. I put in the hours and effort and in a week (yes, 7 days,) I did a 40,000 word novel. Some people say that is writing fast. It is not. I wrote every hour at my usual pace. I simply put in 3 to 4 times the usual hours and writing deep into the night until exhaustion forced me to stop. The writing pace was the same. My dedication to the words and story was the same. (Which is why I don’t understand why critics say NaNo is bad for writing. All NaNo asks is you put in more hours to get the minimum word count every day.)
My fellow writing buddy Christina E. Pilzblog.) She and I have different ways of approaching writing (pantser vs. plotter; everyone who knows me knows I’m allergic to outlines,) but when we do the work we have similar mindsets and work ethics and we find we can share and understand frustrations and achievements. So while writing is a lonely game, having an email friend on the same page is priceless when you need a breath of air or an outside voice that says, “I get it.”
Another helpful voice in my sidelines is my ever-present partner, Della Van Hise, also a great writer. (Check out her blog.) Della is also the driving force in my cover designs and getting my books up on Amazon. Without her I would be so much less.
Things I noted while doing this self-made challenge:
- I really do enjoy being in the writing mode and in the middle of a project. It’s just damn fun. A lot of writers like the feeling of “having written” but not the actual writing part of it. I am the opposite. After I finish I feel a high followed sometimes by some amount of grief. This grief comes when I have had so much fun playing in my universe that when I’m done I am almost reminded of when I was a child and my mom called me in for the night after a day of fun playtime. End of playtime means back to a routine. Ho hum.
- I was writing so much every day that I had the time and was able to write everything that came flooding into my mind from the deepest thoughts (which often occur at just the right moment with no amount of planning on my part) to quick dialog. I didn’t have to wait until I “found some spare time” to write a scene or a line or a note. Everything just went into it. Some scenes and lines came out of order but that was fine because they quickly found their order. Because I was able to get everything in my mind into the novel quickly, without losing energy and momentum and the original muse for the thought, I felt my writing became brighter and more emotional and authentic.
- Even though I do this for fun and for myself nowadays, I still have darker thoughts, just like anyone. I will think I am wasting my time. I will ponder that the genres I choose to write in (science fiction, vampire, gay romance) are still considered “gutter” genres by and large. Forget the fact that Anne Rice can write, back to back, “Prince Lestat” (dandified vampires) and “Beauty’s Kingdom” (b/d, bisexual explicit erotica) and make the NYT Bestseller’s list. Even though I would categorize my stuff as closer to her ilk than any other bestseller writer I can think of, and I am no amateur, my mind keeps reminding me I am unread, unloved even though those who have read my stuff come away loving it. But when I sell only 1 to 10 books a month (across all my titles) it does feel as if I am running in place. So I wrestle with the dark thoughts, set them aside and keep going because once, years ago, I did stop writing for 9 years, and stopping guarantees a no-win. All this did occur to me during the marathon but I successfully squelched the thoughts and focused only on the fun of writing.
Writing ups and downs always occur. Disappointments seem legion. But in the end I have such a good time, and this is my heart talking. How can I deny my heart?
I do have real life work to pay the bills, but when I have the time again, I will do another marathon writing week or month. Mark my words!