Time vs Energy vs Words

The last few months, my writing routine has been knocking out between 20-30 pages a week.  I’ll grant that they aren’t quality pages, they’re mostly unedited, but I’m trying to get the drafts finished before I really dig into the editing process.

The last two weeks though, I’ve been working so much that when I get home I basically collapse on the couch.  Then, maybe watch a little TV and head to bed.  Last week I wrote about 15 pages and they were terrible.  I’ll probably end up tossing them rather than facing a grueling process of turning them into something readable.  This week… I’ve written maybe 5 pages.

Exhausting work, my writing’s kryptonite.

There are a set number of hours in the day, but I’m starting to think there is a set amount of energy that can be expended per day too.  I still have time after work when I could write, but the energy has already been burned.  The mental and physical engine has already run out of gas.

Even writing this… has pushed me past the point of exhaustion.  If I had the energy to go back and review it, I’d probably be bored to tears.

Thankfully, the exhausting schedule only lasts another ten days or so, and I should get back to the familiar routine.  Until then, I’m heading to bed, leaving so many pages unwritten.  For now.


4 thoughts on “Time vs Energy vs Words”

  1. Pages have to be extremely bad before I’ll pitch ’em. Sometimes, lurking in the thought processes that led to them, there’s the germ of an idea worth recovering.

    But writing when tired is difficult. Decisions take energy, and writing involves constant decision-making. If you’re already tired, each word choice, each plot detail becomes a sack of cement to carry. So when I get tired, I run from the bears and look for tiny wabbits: I go thru the m/s and catch typos, break long paragraphs, check punctuation–anything not involving decisions. This work will have to be done sooner or later, so it’s not going to be wasted time.

    Thinking is part of writing. Sometimes it’s best to just go sit under a tree (even an imaginary one) with a notebook and pan and think ahead: What is the hero likely to do when Nikolai Gromeck eventually appears in Act III? How many different reactions can I list for that moment? Who should be in the gondola in the Venice scene? What kind of car should Damson Greengage drive? No decisions, just brainstorming. The final decisions can be made later. (Though a lot of times, I’ll wake up with the answer.)

    1. Many excellent thoughts and comments in here. I’m glad you wrote up a post on it, it’s very well thought out. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I sympathize. Write when you’re fresh or on fire, then revise before you hit “publish” Writing to communicate implies an uncomfortable obligation, irritating, but true, an obligation to the reader Oy vey 😉

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