Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can writing a lot be a bad thing?

Today, I managed three thousand words, which both makes me want to write more and to stop and take a deep long breath.

There are advantages to both, I guess. If I continue on my 5k per writing session trend, I will be past a quarter of my rewrite by tomorrow. If I continue on my 3k per two hours trend... I will cross that threshold by the time I go to sleep.

Which for me is an absolutely blistering pace. 

But. And this is a big one: if I continue rushing at my current pace, will I be able to maintain it? 


Will I actually be able to improve the quality of my story  if I rush as if I'm doing NaNo on steroids? 

Even more so. 

But I want to see where this is all going... 


Heaven knows that I haven't have a burst of productivity like this in months. My record stands at 7000 words in an afternoon and a night. After that I crashed and took months to recover. It was incredibly frustrating. I couldn't even blog properly.

Now I've more or less tripled that count in less than a week.

What does that mean?

Is it due to the fact that my life is now virtually stress free?
Is it because my mind finds it a lot easier to work with a story that has already been written?
Or did it just turn out that I happen to have a writing threshold of 5800 words a day?

These questions become very important when I consider the end goal: Publishing.

This book will take about four rounds of rewrites and edits before I will start publishing.

At the rate I'm going now, I will finish the second draft in about a month - well ahead of my April 30 target.

By April, I could actually see the end of my edits already.

I can query by May.

If I don't kill myself by then. Of course, I'm not really talking about putting a gun to my head an pulling the trigger. I'm talking about looking into the barrel to see how a speeding bullet looks.

But I'm not complaining. I mean. After a month long dry spell, it is wonderful to actually be able to write as freely as breathing.

Still part of me is scared that some part is pushing me too hard.

Are my fears unfounded? Or can too much writing be a bad thing? What would you do if you got hit by a rush of words?

I await your advice. In the mean time, I'm going to get my bloggy fix before deciding what to do.


  1. I feel that way after I've written a lot, too. A mix of wanting to charge ahead and taking a break.

    I find that writing a lot pays off for me, since I've trained my Inner Editor to stay quiet when I've got a lot of writing to revise/edit and I don't mind having so much to fix. But that's when I'm feeling confident about where the story's going and what I want to do with it--sometimes I just let the writing stew for a while, and then go back and see how I feel.

  2. I get burnt out when I write a lot, so I think too much writing could be a bad thing. But, once you're hit you're hit! I generally hold myself back from doing too much, but I think it's for the better that you push yourself a little.

    Don't push too hard though! When I write a lot, if my brain is feeling a bit mushy, I'll just take a slow day. Read a little, write but not striving for any word count in particular.

    I'm glad you've got the groove back. Why not set a limit for each day? Not being able to write'll make you want to do it that much more the next day.

  3. Hi Misha;
    I would go with the flow. If you're not over doing it physically. For my self, I have too many projects right now, so I am disciplining myself to write 1,000 words a day. That's four pages double spaced. In less than a month I will have completed one of two novella's I'm working on. I also have the next book in my fantasy series to write and it is partially done.

    Once the novella is done, wisdom dictates to put it aside for one month. Then I will submit to a Beta reader or two, or to my critique group. After that it is rewrite and edits and sending it to my editor for the final polish. Then it goes up on Amazon and smashwords. This method should generate three more books by the years end. At least that is my hope.

    To enter my contest you must include your email. You didn't on Dominic's blog today. You can go back and do that or come to my blog and do that. You can also read previous post, just click the link on the blog book tour schedule. I check them daily.
    The drawing is Feb. 1.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  4. I say just go with it-- it all works out how it's supposed to in the end, ya know?

  5. Misha, I've had some burn-outs by over-dumping, so I know it can happen. As I've tried to moderate myself a little, though, I've benefited in a couple unexpected ways:

    1) Writing slower typically means taking a little more time to craft and needing less work to patch up.

    But more surprisingly...

    2) If I stop writing, still charged up and thinking about what's going to come next, it keeps the book alive and fresh in my mind and makes the next writing session even more irresistible.

    I suspect this is something that varies greatly between authors, but I would highly recommend at least trying to apply, "Leave them wanting more," to yourself. Leave yourself wanting to write more, rather than exhausted and spent.

  6. My intuition says, whoa Nellie, slow down. Please don't rush into querying. It was a mistake I made. After the second draft, polish and let it b r e a t h e. You'll come back with fresh eyes and spot the holes.

  7. Hi Misha! Tough questions. I'm wouldn't say it's a bad thing at all, and if you are holding up well under the strain, I say go for it! The important thing is to remember to take periodic breaks and rest well...reward yourself with a hot bath or a good movie and some sleep, just to prevent the burn out from happening again. If you feel it creeping up on you, then you can slow down and pace yourself.

    Might I add, too, that I am feeling a bit envious? *laughs* 7 thousand in a day....wow.

  8. If I got hit by a rush of words, I'd write them all down as soon as possible before they washed away.

    I find that I write better when things are less stressful, so I say take full advantage of the time you have since you know something will come that will limit the time you can take.

    At the same time, when you do your editing, I would really slow down and take your time. Like someone already said you don't want to query too soon.

  9. The dry month was probably not such a bad thing. We all need to do something else from time to time. Now you’ve got the flow of words, make the most of them, use them, write them . . .

  10. I will keep the comment succinct. Whatever feels right, when it comes to writing, must surely be the best way. You must never put too much pressure on yourself, and yes, go with the flow.

  11. In my opinion, writing too much can be a bad thing--if it's garbage. After a while, a burnout can produce heaping amounts of the stuff. I've found the dry spells help clear my head. After the hangover, I can see exactly what words I went to bed with in my, not-so-quite, sober state of mind.

  12. Good point Golden, letting the writing stew a little bit is quite important.

    Great advice, Dev, I get the feeling that today is going to be a slow one.

    Nancy, thanks so much for reminding me about my e-mail. I sometimes consider a writing goal, but generally I just find that I end up writing nonsense to fill up the number... On the other hand, it might be exactly what I need now that I'm not strictly pantsing my way through.

    Good tip, Christena. :-)

    Nevets, leaving myself wanting more is a great tip. I'm definitely giving it a shot.

    Thanks for the advice, Layla. I think I should let the rewritten version rest a bit before I take on the editing again... And thanks for dropping by. :-)

    That's something I always forget to do, Adriana. Which may be why I burn out in such a short amount of time. Those seven thousand words were written in a single sitting. As in I took bathroom breaks and ate at my computer while typing one handed. The next morning I was fried.

    Good tip Patti. I should write as the words occur, not according to a word limit.

    Blogger, as usual, you are right. ;-)

    Thanks Gary, I will try going with the flow a bit more.

    Kris that is a valid point. I always see dry spells as a terrible thing, as I can't so much as think of my story then. But you're right. When I do get back to writing, it feels as if I have such clarity about where my story is heading. Thanks for dropping by. :-)

  13. I know what you mean, after writing a bunch in a short time, I feel exhausted as well. I think it's about finding your own balance, and learning what your capabilities are.

  14. I write fast. I get obsessive and have finished most of my projects in about a month - in and amongst editing and blogging and...

    I think it's one of those things where you just go with it, if your brain has 5,000 words to get down, get them down. If there's nothing, relax and know that at some point, there will be another 5,000 words there, waiting to by typed out.

  15. Everyone writes differently. I do some every day, but I don't do well with chunks of time bigger than 2 hours. I have a friend who writes huge amounts and then takes a break of days/weeks. You have to experiment and find what works for you.

  16. That is true Jessica, balance is very important.

    You are so right, Jolene! I always feel like I should maintain some sort of rate of words. It's complete nonsense of course.

    Good tip, Connie. I tend to work longer blocks of time, but then my writing sessions tend to be sporadic. I'll play with my writing time for a bit...



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