First up, I’d like to report (happily) that I did finish that difficult scene I mentioned in my last update. An emotional read aloud to a couple of friends signaled it comes across as I hoped it would. So, I give myself an A for that. As for total progress on the novel, I have to say the past two weeks, which we’re combining because of the holiday, were on the slow side for me. I still got about 15 new pages written, but that’s substantially less than I turned out during the first two weeks. Still, progress is progress. I have learned over the years that it’s a waste of time to force myself to write for the sake of meeting some everyday proposed word or page goal because that type of writing just winds up getting cut in future drafts. Also, it can ruin whatever type of flow I have going. So, in some cases, less is definitely more.
On a somewhat related topic, as I approach my mid-50s, I am finding I simply don’t have the energy and drive to write for seven or eight hours per day anymore. Gardening and household chores take a lot longer than they used to. And when I am writing, my arthritis forces me to get up at least every hour and move around. If I didn’t do this, I would become permanently chair bound. And while that might be all right insofar as my writing progress goes, it wouldn’t do much for my home life. My point is, if you are currently in your 30s or 40s and in good health, be sure to make the most of every single day you have to write. Time truly does wait for no one.
Interesting to see from what you’ve written, Connie, that things went a bit slower for you this week. Same here! I felt blocked by an important scene that I simply could not figure out how to begin. Then I realized, after our read last Thursday, that I should just write through it, which I did by recording a conversation. Your comment, “I can fill in sensory details later” resonated with me.
To everyone: I am trying to take the book I wrote twenty years ago and use it as the backdrop story to a new one set in the same place, a boarding school. I noted in reading a great article on writing and publishing in the most current issue of Vanity Fair that every time an author does a revision of an old story, the story changes because the author has changed. Therefore, we cannot hope to ever “see” a book we have written as perfect because we, as the originators, have changed and would rephrase or edit out and in various scenes every time we sit down to edit.
The main thing I get, from being with really professional people (Connie and Lesley) during reads, is that a writer should not be too hard on him or herself. We have to just keep writing or we will be blocked forever!