I had a week off

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I did a bit of writing, but I’ve found myself slightly burned out. Not that this is an unexpected thing.

Normally, the books I write have a large gap in them somewhere. More often than not, I write the first chapter or so, and then it sits untouched for a few weeks while my head fills in the gaps. Then, when I come back to it, I’ve got most of the rest scribbled down inside my head. Of course changes happen and the story wanders off on its own, but I have plenty of stuff to work with.

I think that what has happened with SNIDE is that, as I didn’t do that this time, I’ve hit the limit of what was already sorted in my head. So, the simple solution is to slow down for a couple of weeks. Instead of 10k per week, perhaps two weeks of 5k. Let the well refill.

Besides, I have other things to do this week too, like get a haircut and get some photos done. These things clearly require my full attention…

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SNIDE: The second act slump

sad_keanu

I have a habit of checking my word count a lot when writing a book, which isn’t helping me right now.

For a while it is super useful, seeing that I’ve made so much progress. The first ten thousand words feel like a slog, but once you start nearing fifteen thousand it begins to feel like you’re actually doing something important. Then you start to near forty thousand, as I’m doing now, and all you can think of is I’m not even halfway yet.

I still need another sixty thousand words. Possibly more. That’s really bloody daunting. I tend to let the story dictate itself to me as I write, and this book is no different, but I’m rapidly running out of expected material, marching straight into terra incognita.

This happens in every book, and once I cross the magic midway marker things should start to make sense again. But right now it’s a bit scary. It’s also getting all serious, and I mostly don’t write things that are serious. I mostly write things that have sarcastic shitbags annoying people for 300 pages.

All this being a legitimate writer business is weird.

My Writing Routine

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The hardest part of being a writer is the whole “writing” thing. It sounds a little bit stupid when you lay it out like that, but it’s true. When you’ve got the idea formed in your mind – or written out as a cool little outline, whatever floats your word-boat – getting that down on paper can be quite daunting. Thousands of words need corralling and controlling very carefully. When you sit down to do that, and you see nothing but a white page and realise all the work that you need to do, of course you’re going to want to put it off for as long as possible.

I got around this by enforcing upon myself a routine. This is the sort of thing I should have done at university, but that didn’t work out well. Now that writing is my job, however, it feels like I should treat it with a modicum of adult professionalism – at least then, when I’m angrily swearing at myself for forgetting a ridiculously pretentious synonym for something, I can feel proud that I am working.

So here is my method:

  •  Wake up – This is difficult, because I don’t seem to conform to any human hours.
  •  Stare angrily at the unopened document for an hour.
  •  Have breakfast while still staring angrily.
  •  Finally open the document.
  •  Punch two thousand words onto the page while worrying that it’s all a huge mistake.
  •  Sneak in an extra couple of hundred so I have a head start on tomorrow’s two thousand.
  •  Save, close document and stop worrying. Clearly it was great because I am talented and amazing and lovely.

Do any of you have special routines to get you through your working day? I’m nosey.