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The Ups and The Downs

I'm so sorry y'all for not posting sooner, but NaNoWriMo has been kicking my butt.

I used to have pretty steady days, were I'd write about 1-2K words a day, but recently I've been having problems with that. Every day feels like a battle to the death for every word, and there have only been a few days in which I've succeeded. And when I do triumph, its fantastic, I got 6.9K total words on Tuesday and hit the halfway point of NaNo that night. But it didn't come without a cost - yesterday I wrote nothing. I couldn't get my head straight, I'd pushed myself far too hard.

I'd gotten to about 5.4K around 7pm when I started getting soooooo tired, really wanted to go to bed. But then I realized I was so close to the 25K mark, and I, with the encouragement of a bunch of my writing buddies, set off for the gold. 7pm may seem like child's play to you, but with my ADHD medication and my problems sleeping, I should have listened to my body and left it be. But I didn't. I stayed up until 10pm, past when I should have been doing my nightly wind down routine, and got those words.

It was a fantastic feeling to get to 25K exactly 5 days before the 15th of November, the halfway point of NaNo. But I paid for those extra words by not being able to sleep until 1am. Not able to write, my mind was too fried, but also unable to dream of the next scene in the novel. In a way, those extra 1.5K words counted towards yesterday - I could have, should have, written them yesterday, not the day before when I should have relaxed and been proud of myself for the 5.4K. Instead I was angry on despaired my lack of words yesterday, I couldn't wake up fully, I wanted my words but I hadn't parceled them out properly.

It is a far worse feeling for me to have a high output one day and several with none, than to have a steady but lowish count every day. I want my rhythm back, and I'm going off to find it.

How do you handle words? Do you revel in the ups and downs? Or do you need a steadier flow? What are your routines for setting up that flow, whether its gorgeously erratic or beautifully consistent?


  1. Sara ♥ says:

    I go through so many patterns it's ridiculous. I once had a week in which I didn't write less than 3.5k a day (and a few were up to 8k). I once had a month where I didn't write a single word. It's frustrating, but I think I'm a slave to the creativity... Or, at least I used to think that. As I get farther along in the novel - I realize that writing really is a job. And I have to force myself to sit at my desk with my manuscript open and type. Even if I don't feel like it. If I want to be regarded as a professional in the community, I need to act like one! (Of course this COMPLETELY contradicts what my post is on today.)

    So on those days when I force myself to write - sometimes the writing is such crap... but it's still writing and I know I'll be able to salvage more of what I've written than if I hadn't written anything at all!

    (These are just my personal thoughts of the moment of course - I think each writer has to find their own way of getting the best out of themselves!)

  2. Hi Brittany! I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading some of your posts. I just found your blog today--not sure how I missed it before--and I'm always looking to connect with other writers (especially other YA fantasy writers) so I hope you don't mind that I'm following you now.

  3. @Sara - I've had those crazy productive days too, but I don't think I can go a day without at least *trying* to write, even if no actual words get onto the page. My crap writing... well, thats for another blog post ;D

    @Shannon Messenger - *guffs* Aw, thanks! I'm always looking for new people to connect with too, but NaNo has been kicking my butt lately >.< I'm so close to the end of this WIP! Well, if 22K is close XD

  4. I think everyone needs to find their own personal process that meets their writing and *life* needs. I do believe that you can burn yourself out though, by pushing too hard for too long. I think the muse needs to refill the well. That by pushing too hard you can burn the creativity up for a time. I see this in friends who have brutal deadlines yet still have to produce books. So they write, even through the creativity isn't there, and they struggle and their books suffer for it.

    I'm looking more for a slow but steady progress too. So I set a daily wordcount and hour goal. 1000 words a day, two hours (m-f when I work) 2500 words and 4 hours. (on weekends) So, if the writing is going really crappy and the creativity just isn't there. Then I just aim for whichever I reach first. If I hit the 1K I'll stop before the two hours. But if I'm having trouble hitting the 1K goak, then I have to try for the two hours.

    If I hit the 1K easily and the writing is still flowing, then I will write the whole 2 hours. I don't let myself write more than three hours M-F or 5 hours on the weekends though. I've found if I push beyond those timeframes, that's when I will start to burn out.

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