Monday, February 10, 2014

Pressure Writing

Exactly how do you write?  Is it casual with a 'what I write is what I write' attitude?  Or do you write with a certain number of words, a goal, in mind?  Or is it like I'm doing right now - under duress and time constraints.

For me, I enjoy the first method - what I write is what I write.  I like the ability to decide that 50 well-chosen words are the meat of the writing day. Or, if I decide, 2,000 words will comprise my daily endeavor.

Of course, I also find that having a goal in front of me - say 1700 words per day for 30 days will garner me a base novel of 51,000 words.  With that commitment, I can then go back and edit, cleaning up, massaging and adding the depth and detail necessary to gain a nicely sized volume to call a finished product.

Unfortunately, for me, most of the time I find myself under the gun.  Time slips away and before I realize it, the next installment, whatever, is due in very short order.  How short?  It is now 11:30pm, Sunday night, and this blog must be ready to show at midnight-thirty, my usual release time.  I have exactly one hour to finish this and post it.

But, wait, let's go back to the casual writing effort.  The really fun part of that is when I'm not being pressured into a time-freak, my mind can relax and wander.  I can let my characters stroll down the proverbial garden path and enjoy the roses.  In return, they will lead me on a journey, showing me such wonderful and awesome things. My only hope is for me to get all of the words down and keep pace with the characters so I know what is happening.

In my latest book, soon to be released, "Pangaea: Eden Lost" I was writing and had no idea what was going to happen since I'd been taken off-track a chapter earlier.  So, in total befuddlement, I typed "We have company at the gates."

Don't ask me why!  I just did and for the next four chapters, I was on a roller coaster ride of sheer adventure and amazement as my characters took over the story and I typed crazily to keep up.  One of my test readers said it was some of the best stuff she'd read in a long time - very imaginative and exciting.  She found herself so engrossed in the story she almost didn't hear the nurse call her name for the appointment.

So it goes.  Casual writing.

But, then again, when I'm under duress, I can literally fly by the seat of my pants and come up with something pretty good.  Maybe not this particular blog entry, but I've had my lucky days.

During National Novel Writing Month, the 1700 words per day requirement not only works as a great incentive during November but it also works well any other time.

The only problem I've discovered is within me - my terrible case of procrastination.  If I'd be smart, I'd write my blogs on Tuesday for the following week rather than the Sunday before publication.

But then, at my age, I'm retired, there's always tomorrow. Early rising is 9 in the morning and if I want to watch a movie at 1 a.m., I don't have to worry about getting up for work the next day.

Oh wait, this was about writing.  Sort of holds true there, too.  There's always tomorrow until Sunday night.

Until next I ramble on...

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