07 June 2010

writing goals vs. writing normally

I still have it in the sidebar: the 1,000 words a day tag that Debbie Ridpath Ohi over at Inkygirl made. I also have a spreadsheet showing that it doesn't actually work that way in The Eyrea. By now the data is pretty conclusive.

Don't get me wrong — I am writing. Progress is never what I want it to be, because what I want it to be is a full-time job, and that's not happening in the forseeable future. But there's also a perception factor that bothers me. It's taken a long time to come up to the surface, but here it is.

I went through a long period of time where writing was normal in my head, but I was literally afraid to write anything down because it would be deliberately interrupted ("you're doing that and there's dirty dishes in the sink. Shows how much you care about our health"), or read when it was barely beyond note-taking ("what do you mean 'first draft'? fiction is meant to be shared, and you left the notebook on top of your desk"), or diminished (the word I hate more than any other in the English language is "hobby." There's a reason for that.).

It doesn't actually matter if I make 1,000 words a day or not. I have to write something, because if I don't I'm not going to move ahead with the story (and, worse, wind up being that most despicable of beings, the poser). But what matters, what really, really matters, is whether or not writing is normal. It's a symptoms-versus-disease thing.

If writing isn't normal, it will take a larger-than-should-be-necessary amount of willpower to sit down and write. The writing will be more exhausting, more frustrating, and more of a chore than it needs to be. Writing is always work, but if what it takes to make it worthwhile is another entry on a spreadsheet, there's problems.

If writing isn't normal, all the stories will be stillborns. They will suck and while a certain amount of editing will prettify the ones that came closest to term so that they can at least be presented for critique, they will never get to be grown-ups loved by strangers to the parent. They will always be potentials buried in shoeboxes, long before they had a chance to bloom and make their own way in the world.

But:

If writing is normal, then 1,000 words isn't a marathon, but a pacing marker so that the writer doesn't blow their wad too soon.

If writing is normal, then the text's growth rate is regular and steady.

If writing is normal, then you don't need a badge on your blog to make it that way.

When I started this post, I wasn't planning on taking down the badge (I may still check in to Ohi's roll calls from time to time). I think it will be gone by the time this post gets published, though.

The Eyrea, both this visible blog-space and the private virtual and physical spaces behind it, is a place where writing is normal. Anything that contrives past that will wind up being a hindrance, not a help.

3 comments:

  1. Can't wait to read something you've written!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Be careful what you wish for -- once the first draft on the novel is done, I'm going to start posting short stories and other offerings to my home page!

    ReplyDelete

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