|graphic by the amazing Noel Shiveley, who is my new hero.|
What I Did With My Writing Week Final Day
by Elizabeth Metz
aged 45 1/2.
I kinda wrote words on a piece of paper at one point...
before I burst into flame and proceeded to melt into a puddle.
And then, to be honest, I took a nice nap. Watched a few videos from the one class I'm working through, because I figured that might give my supposed writing focus some legitimacy, despite the fact that I wasn't really, y'know, writing anything.
This heat sucks out my will to live.
I wish that was different, but I'm fighting biology here. And yes, I can turn on the AC in the bedroom and write longhand, but then I get all eye-droopy from the relief of not fighting to stay ahead of the heat and my brain just shuts right down.
I'm kind of a high-maintenance writer.
That said, I did get in the thousand words that I want to make a regular thing.
See, before this, I've always treated my writing like a sprint. Spend some time outlining and dreaming about story points, sure. But when I go to actually write the thing, I've been known to go completely off the rails. We're talking fifteen or sixteen hour days with few breaks until the draft is done. And since I'm one of the lucky ones who usually writes pretty good first drafts, my work is about 90% done by the end of that frenzied whirlwind of wordslinging. I run it through some editing software that I've got (ProWritingAid, for the interested), which picks apart the grammar to a degree that would make the strictest of English teachers sit back and think daaaaang...that software is harsh. Then it's usually ready to go.
All of it, once the writing starts, takes me about a week if I've outlined things well enough. I've logged nearly twenty thousand word days before. I woke up with claws for fingers and with semi-permanently crossed eyes and with the ability to make coherent sentences stripped from my arsenal of skills, but that's just how I've always done things.
Y'know that hackneyed old phrase about things being a marathon rather than a sprint?
I'm trying that.
There are no rabid wolves on my tail, making me write a book in a week.
There are no Writing Snipers outside my windows with bullets made of silly string and rotten tomatoes who will get me if I write in a more sane manner.
The zombie apocalypse is not here and angry mobs will steal my computer and hand me over to the brain-eating monsters if I don't completely overdo things.
So I'm aiming for sanity on a regular basis, vs. batsh*t crazy for a few days.
It's probably the biggest thing I've learned from trying to be artificially superproductive during a heat wave. (As opposed to being inspired, which I've previously waited around to be, before beginning. Which is dumb, since I know my muse likes motion.)
One or two thousand words a day is easy. It's painless. Or, rather, painless in a different kind of way. It's still sometimes like having bamboo shoots inserted under your toenails to begin, but I can hit that goal in such a short amount of time that I barely notice the pain before I'm done for the day. I can keep going if I want to sometimes, or during writing retreat weeks, but I won't have to.
I'm gonna do things a little different this time.
I truly think adding this bit to my already-established morning routine may be the most valuable thing to come out of this past week.
And it's priceless, if it gets me going every day.
Tomorrow starts Art Week.
My plans are big for it, of course, but if reality is anything like what the last two categories have been like, I'm pretty sure I'll be scaling them back and finding where I can make the best progress over the course of this first, foundational week. (After all, these are the baseline weeks, where I'm learning what can be done and how to do it.)
Planning on updating etsy (finally), and maybe filling up an art journal (I've got one in mind), and probably reading/doing a bunch of drawing/painting exercises from some books I've been hoarding. I'll try to get as many pictures as I can, since this week is (presumed to be) mostly visual.
But first, maybe a few more words for the count before this writing week expires.
Or just a cookie.