Saturday, February 4, 2012

Great expectations...

Expectations can potentially damage the outcome of a  productive day. 

I once took a vacation to an island that I planned out to the last day, I was just so excited!  It was a huge disappointment.  The weather was hot and sticky, the food was greasy and over cooked, the company was exhausted because the itinerary was a tad walk-heavy. By the end, we all just wanted to go home.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, my love and I went on a fairly spontaneous road trip to Fort Wayne of all places.  We shopped and ate at a Longhorns Steakhouse (best waitress ever!) and loaded up on beer, wine, and fun snacky things at the Wal-mart, and books from a local bookstore... took our spoils back to the Hyatt we'd snagged a room in, and ate, drank and watched complimentary cable for two days.  It was the best trip EVER! :)  We never planned a thing. It just happened naturally.

When our expectations are too high (or rather, too specific), and things don't go according to our plans, we get frustrated.  The process starts to feel like it's spiraling out of our hands.  And that can be trouble. 

Now, don't misunderstand me.  I'm not saying don't plan.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am a plannin fool.  I love organization,outlines, and data collection. 

I'm simply saying, don't get discouraged if your writing day does not match up with your plan/outline point by point.  Set your goals, and stick with them, but understand that shit happens, and cut yourself some slack when it does.

I'm a huge fan of the 10k writing day.  I strive for it every Saturday (and most Sundays).

However...

If things come up, and I only write 8.5k, and 2k of that is not usable manuscript pages, but rather outline or character profiling, I'm still pretty darn happy.

There is something to be said for flexibility, and being able to take things in stride. 

Stephen King has said in articles and in his book On Writing,  that he believes "stories are found things", and I believe that is true, in the sense that if you try to force it just to hit your word count or keep up with your plan of action, it could potentially damage the story... and the fun of writing it.

Just a little reminder, creative types tend to be a bit hard on themselves... but, brilliant as we all are - we are human. ;)

What are your tips or tricks for how to shake off a less than stellar writing day?


4 comments:

  1. I'm big on not over-planning too.

    Unless I'm up against a deadline, I find it helpful to remind myself that I can always try again the next day.

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  2. Yeah, sometimes its good to refill the well. Deadlines are very important for sure... but sometimes putting too much pressure on ourselves only makes things worse.

    Enjoying Confessions, btw. :)

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  3. I'm a big planner, but so often my plans go to sh*t. :)

    When I have a terrible writing day, I try and do other things related to the book. Like research. Or even blogging. Because that's all part of it, and if I can do something productive in another area, I don't feel so bad.

    And be kind to yourself, my friend! You work SO HARD. There's only so much you can do. I personally think you're a rock star.

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    Replies
    1. You're the best! The most inspirational person ever! Thank you. :)

      I like to find other novel related projects too...can be great fun, and really spark the imagination.

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