Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Writing By Numbers

Writing is no numbers game.

You know how you can do just about anything else and use time to gauge your progress?

Working out
Work out for thirty minutes and you'll get your sweat on, lose some fluid, burn some cals. Do this a few times a week and soon the ol' LBs start melting.

Reading
No doubt, you read for a few hours and you're at the crux of the plot. Hell, for me, a few hours of reading usually means I'll finish a book.

Gardening, cooking, anything else can be done by the numbers. Put in the time, get the job done.

Key word being DONE.

Well, you can't do that with writing...at least, not with edits and revisions.

Play the writing game by the numbers and you'll lose.

Here's how I know...

I'm deep into second round edits on DRAMA. Being that the full-time gig isn't easily blown off, I've tried to write by numbers to meet my deadline i.e. today I'm going to write for at least four hours OR I'm going to get through forty pages.

Well, let me tell you - when you're not relying on your muse or a writing whim to get you through, it ain't easy getting through forty pages of editorial feedback.

Unless we're talking pure line edits.

And you can write for four hours and still be on one damn scene.

I can't be alone here.

God, I hope not. If so, I'm the most hoplessly dense writer on earth.

The other day, I promised myself I'd get through twenty pages. Seemed realistic, given I had other things on my plate that couldn't be ignored.

How about ten pages in, I ran into a single scene that ended up taking oh...about two hours to finesse.

I managed to get through the next ten pages, eventually, only because they,Thank God, were mostly line edits.

Then today, I'm rolling along rather smoothly. I look up and I've been writing for five hours. FIVE.

I was pleased as hell until I realized that 1) ninety percent of the meaty editorial remarks were in the pages I hadn't gotten to and 2)I'd only gone through about twenty pages in that five hours.

Not saying twenty pages isn't progress...just saying, I felt like I should have been farther along.

Considering I have another twenty pages to go, you'd think - okay maybe another five hour will do it.

But I have twenty pages chock full of editorial remarks, not line edits!

::sigh:::

The only time the numbers game works in writing is when you're trying to mandate writing time in the day. If the page is blank and you say you're going to write fifteen pages or write for at least two hours - you can proudly look at your progress when you're done.

Sadly, it doesn't work quite the same when you're revising.

C'est la vie, eh?

2 Comments:

Anonymous The Hive Mind said...

I understand how you feel. When I've had to write proposals for work, I had to have it finished and sent up for review by a specific date. For my predecessor, this may have been an easy task to complete within a couple of days. For me, I would spend the entire work day (10-14 hours), every day, trying to get it done by the deadline.

Because of my job, I have grown use to writing to a deadline, but I also realize that it's a little different when it comes to fictional work. Revising one scene may take up hours of your time whereas the technical writing I do may not require that much time. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it...one day soon, I hope.

10:55 AM

 
Blogger Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Deadlines I don't mind. If I don't have a deadline I tend to slack. So I love knowing when something has to be finished.

It's actually kind of interesting that I've just realized - 5 hours of creative writing is A LOT of writing. But 5 hours revising based on ed feedback...mmm, not so much.

11:06 AM

 

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