May. 7th, 2007

ashnistrike: (writing)
The first draft is done! All 128,000 words of it.

And 90,000 of those words have been written since January 6th. Thank you [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90. My previous rate was about 20k a year, so under normal circumstances I would have finished this in mid 2011.

Things I have learned:
-Being told that I should put Butt in Chair and write for a certain length of time every day causes me to stare at a screen for that length of time. Knowing that I have to produce a certain number of words or be mocked causes me to pound out 750-ish words in an hour to an hour and a half.
-Waiting for the muse to strike does not give me better words than writing every day. Actually, I think I'm writing better words this way. This is partly because I can feel the novel's pacing more clearly when I'm writing at an even rate. Also because I've just fit four years of learning-by-doing into four months.
-Writing every day, workmanlike, does not take away the romance. I've had two days of writing ecstasy in the last four months, which is about average, maybe a bit high. It's just that I've had a bunch of productive writing days in between.
-As Neil Gaiman points out, a good writing day is a good day. Since I've been writing more, I've had more good days. Except for the usual end-of-the-semester stress, in fact, my mood has generally been more even than usual, and my productivity in other areas has been up too. If I know I have to produce words, there's no point in writing a day off entirely (no pun intended) when I'm feeling under the weather. On a related point, it's much more clear to me now when I'm actually sick or exhausted, because those are the days when I can't write.
-I can produce books at a reasonable rate around my academic schedule. This is good, since I love my day job and have no desire to quit.

I'm 31, and have been writing the same way, approximately, since I was old enough to pick up a pen. This is more or less the only thing I share with my 10-year-old self. I'd assumed that I was a very slow burst worker, that I produced my best work that way, and there was no way around it. Now it turns out that a completely different set of thought processes works even better for me. What else could I be missing?

Dinosaurs are next. Dinosaurs and editing. I'll probably be bugging my beta-readers with the first-pass draft in about a month.
ashnistrike: (Default)
-Somehow, it's become Spring. The garden is full of apple mint and scallions. The yard is full of lilac and honeysuckle. Edible "weeds" are poking up all over our yard: mustard greens, sorrel, dandelion, bee balm. I never get over the way plants just grow.

-If the Internets know why my copy of Firefox now sticks my previous e-mail into any attempt to reply to someone, rather than quoting their e-mail, I'd appreciate them sharing their wisdom. It also sticks a copy of my previous lj post into the text box whenever I start to make a new post--and a copy of my previous comment on a given journal/community into the text box for my next comment. It does not confuse these different types of text entry with each other. My other copy of Firefox (on my work computer) does not do this. [ETA: Aha! It was the Greasemonkey "Backup text area" extension. It's gone now, and my e-mails quote properly again.]

-After correcting 60 undergraduate papers, every misplaced apostrophe digs into my flesh like a tiny thorn. "It's" = "it is"; "its" = possessive form of "it". Plurals do not get apostrophes, no matter how much they beg. Editors and teachers everywhere will love you for getting this right.

-If anyone, like me, is silly enough to use Windows Media Player for their music, I highly recommend not upgrading to version 11 when it's offered. The interface, based on the princple that graphics are good, and more graphics are better, is hideously ugly and hides most of the information that is presented on the surface in version 10. Particularly if you use any of the more esoteric columns (like "mood"), it absolutely refuses to give access to those. It took me half an hour to figure out that a rollback was even possible, and another hour to do it.

-My favorite typo yesterday--mine this time: I'd written, of a small tabby-colored dragon, "He looks like one of the Norse breeds, so he probably expects to eat bark in the winter." I attempted to change this to, "...he probably expects bark in the winter." Result? "He probably expects to bark in the winter." Nameseeker assumed this was an interesting evolutionary adaptation, but couldn't figure out how it might be a survival characteristic.

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