Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ready, set, WAIT!

Ideas are exciting. When they first form you rush to put the idea into motion, unable to find enough time in the day. You got to bed thinking about it, probably dreaming about it too and wake with it at the front of your mind. It consumes your thoughts and you eagerly neglect everything else for the sake of the idea.

When a story forms in my head that's what it's like for me. I spend every second I can writing down the words forming in my head, visualizing the new characters. Having to stop writing is a chore and I jump back into the new idea as soon as possible. Before I know it 10K words have flown by, another the next day. I'm on a roll, racing towards the end.

Only to falter when I reach the halfway mark. In my excitement I over estimated the distance, treating the story like a sprint instead of the marathon it is. Now I'm struggling to finish, only 2 or 3K words written. And that's if I'm lucky to get anything written that day. I trudge and stumble determined to finish the marathon, hoping for a second wind. Sometimes I get the second wind but it's never as strong as the initial burst.

So I've learned my lesson.

Umm.... probably not. When a new idea forms it's hard not to burst off the starting blocks. Hard not to be overcome by the excitement of the idea urging you to run as fast as you can. But maybe, just maybe now that I've figured out this hurdle, the next new idea that pops into my head I'll remind myself I'm running a marathon and not a quick sprint. Slow and steady wins the race, right?


  1. Not necessarily wins the race, but it does FINISH the race.


  2. As a binge writer myself - often writing 8k or 10k words a day when the story is flowing - ripping out a first draft of 150k in a couple of weeks, the key for me is "back up."

    When the story falters it's always always always because I shoulda made a left turn at Albuquerque. I back up to where the story was alive and flowing and look for where the energy starts to drop off. Pick that point and look for the turn that you missed.

    Have to lop off a few thousand words?

    Ok .. save them in a slush file and move on.

    Slow and steady doesn't win the race any more than faster does.

    You can't win if you don't finish and in a one person race, there's only one person who can beat you.

    Just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

  3. I find my ability to write ebbs and flows, and when I find myself grinding to a standstill, I just put the project to one side and totally ignore it. Usually within a few weeks I'm raring to go again =)

  4. Patricia, this post for one was a great idea... I can so associate with it - almost identical to what happens to me ...

  5. Yep, I've started writing a hypothetical novel a few times and have trouble continuing where I left off. I'm totally untrained, so I thought it was just me! Woo hoo! I'm not alone. :) P.S. That is the cutest tortoise and hare picture ever!! :)

  6. Start and Stop, put it down walk away come back, Start and Stop, walk away. Its an endless cycle. One that happens to me daily :(

  7. Excellent post! I can relate so well... Thank you for sharing.:) Now, I have a marathon to finish... Ciao!

  8. Wow, you hit it right on the head. That is exactly how it is. I just need to learn to write my thought down LOL. Nice post!!

  9. GREAT post! I can 100% relate, especially to how an idea consumes you, and nothing else seems to exist. I've been finding that my ideas "nag" me, especially the novel that I'm working on. I find that the more the ideas nag me, the more I am able to accomplish with my writing, since who wants to be nagged? lol I definitely binge write from time to time, but I make sure to leave where I have left off open-ended, so the idea stays in my mind and I am able to feed off of the energy of the initial writing the next time I sit at the computer.

  10. This made me smile, I don't think there isn't a writer out there who hasn't experienced this. You write well with quick sprints or marathon's maybe sometimes you need a little quick sprint or a collection of them to enhance the marathon, after all you have to start with short runs in order to get to the big one.

  11. Glad to hear a lot of people feel my pain. Thanks everyone. Still trudging away and the end is in sight!

  12. Yep, have to admit I'm guilty of that. It's easy to start of strong and never find a way to finish the project:(