I’m almost at the home stretch in my YA fantasy. On Saturday, I hit 70k even though I don’t usually write on weekends. But the 600 words I wrote Saturday were more excruciating than usual. I kind of always feel like I’m forcing out words, but I was forcing them even harder, knowing they weren’t good.
When I whined to my husband about this, he looked at me like I was crazy. “So take the day off,” he said. “I would if I didn’t have a deadline. There comes a point when you’re doing more harm than good.” I blinked at him a few times. I looked back at the computer screen. And I closed the document.
As many of you know, I don’t have a deadline. Because I don’t have a book deal. Or an agent, for that matter. The only person waiting to read this book when I’m finished is me. Because of that, it’s important to me that I keep to a writing schedule and get words on the page even when I don’t want to. Only I can push myself to write.
My husband, on the other hand, does have a writing contract (he’s a screenwriter). And he does have a deadline. So he can’t just take a day off whenever he wants. He doesn’t have the luxury of setting his work aside and letting it simmer in the back of his mind. He doesn’t have the luxury of thinking.
But I do. I can brainstorm and think through solutions to plot problems without worrying that I didn’t get any words on the page that day. It’s one of the few perks of being a non-professional writer. While I agonize daily over whether I’ll ever “make it” as an author, this is the upside: I have all the time I want to write a book. At my most optimistic, I look at this as a gift. (At my most pessimistic, I think, Yeah, loser, of course you have tons of time, because nobody will ever care about what you’re writing, and nobody will ever read it. But I keep the pessimist locked in a cage.)
So let’s be optimistic for a minute. I didn’t write this weekend, and I’ve only jotted down notes today. But I’ve got a much better idea of how the last 20-25k of this book will flow. I thought of a better way to do a few things. And I didn’t waste two days writing a bunch of words I’d just have to delete. I gave my brain a rest.
I’m still on track to finish by my self-imposed deadline of January 31st. Come on, self, let’s do this thing.