So Busy! (In a good way)

I didn’t realize until just now how long it’s been since I had something to say here. Yeesh. The interesting times in my personal life have become duller–thank goodness!–but I’m still scribbling quite a lot. I’ve written well over 5000 words since January 6, which is crazy-mad productive for me.

I think a change to my process is behind this new productivity. My working pattern has always been to polish, polish, polish, get-it-as-close-to-perfect-as-I-can before moving on. I had all kinds of reasons why this was a good thing to do (including, “I can’t help it.”) But in the last year or so I’ve been feeling…confined, somehow, as if I were somehow crushing the liveliness out of my work, control-freaking it to death. I’ve been trying to figure out how to let in some wildness, because I think I need it, and then a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that the polish, polish, polish thing might be a huge part of what was confining me. Because what I do when I polish, polish, polish is set the scene in stone…which then limits what can arise as a result of it. I’d been trimming possibilities out of my work as I go along.

When I realized that, I decided to to try sketching ideas for scenes, instead of writing as if this was it, the definitive version, and see where that took me. At the worst, I might not get anything out of it except the knowledge that, no, the polish-polish thing is really something I have to do. On the other hand, I might figure out a new approach.

So far it’s working, both in terms of words produced and in my feelings toward doing to the work itself. I still get anxious sometimes, refusing to open the book to start writing because I don’t know what comes next in the latest scene. When that happens, I tell myself to write down some of the stuff that’s bubbling up.

The other helpful thing I’m doing is abandoning the spreadsheet I was using to track my progress. It just disheartened me every time I cut words, driving the daily wordcount into negative numbers. Writing is hard enough without doing things that make it harder. I have counted how much I’ve written–obviously, since I can say how much I’ve done in the last 10 days–but only in a loose and informal way.

I recognize that I’m going to have a worse mess to deal with at the end than usual. Right now, I’m completely at peace with the idea, mainly, I suspect, because it’s not quite real to me. That doesn’t mean I’m not right to be okay with this. I’ll only know when I’m done.

Which will happen a whole lot sooner than I’d hoped, if my current productivity keeps up.


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