Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday News

This just in: I'm stalling on my current WIP, and I think I know why. Let me count the reasons.

1. Word counts are too much pressure.
When I'm trying to hit a certain amount of words per day, I find myself in a similar situation as to when I set any other kind of goal that seems unattainable: I panic and slowly walk away. I feel like I can't cut out a big section that, as it turns out, is totally irrelevant and let myself be carried in a different direction, because OMFG no WAY can I make up for all of those words that I'll be losing! I know word counts work for many of you--especially the ones doing NaNoWriMo this month--but for me, they make writing feel like work. I don't want my creative outlet to feel like work. I have enough real work already, damn it!

2. Work blows.
'Nuff said.

3. I'm slightly addicted to technology.
When I'm overworked, I soothe my fried brain with free online games and crap TV. Unfortunately for my WIP, I've got a DV-R filled with trashtastic television. Plus, since I've been keeping a daily word count, writing has started to feel a lot more like a weight loss regimine and a lot less like a relief from everything. So t.v. wins out sometimes. Most of the time. Okay, as of late, almost every time.

4. And here's the real kicker: I'm terrified of my new project.
No, I'm not writing a horror flick, and no, I don't have any tragic deaths planned. But, unlike my previous forrays into the land of YA, my current WIP is strictly realistic fiction. No ghosts or witches in sight. Just one girl with a best friend, a boyfriend, and a morally skewed compass leading her in a less-than-noble direction. My problem? Putting the decisions my MC has already made to writing scares me. It makes me uncomfortable. It gives a voice to the wrong choices my MC has made, and it threatens every relationship in this world that I've spent so much time crafting. Conflict may be the most important part of your story, but it's also a scary mother. Don't let anyone tell you any differently.

My solution?
Axe the word counts. Bring fun back to my writing. Limit screw-off time. Write. Write. Write. And stop holding in all of the pain, confusion, and mistakes, because these things are what make a story real.

And, for those times when I forget my own advice and end up curled into the fetal position, play Eye of the Tiger and dance around like a boxing superstar until I remember.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

First drafts always intimidate me. I've only tried work-count goals a few times. For me, committing to write a certain number of times a week is easier. I don't even "have" to say how long those sessions will be.

Abby said...

Woohoo! Writing can be stressful at times, but it should be fun. Sometimes, with all the pressures of publication, and obtaining an agent, and keeping up with this or that, it's easy to lose sight of what we loved about writing in the first place. Glad you found your way back to fun. :)

I can't give myself word count goals either. If I feel like there are expectations, I tend to shut down and ignore. It doesn't matter what it is. That's why I'm not doing NaNo. I've found that just deciding to sit down and work through a scene works best for me.

Lisa and Laura said...

Yeah, I don't do well with word count goals either. I focus on writing specific scenes instead and that seems to take the pressure off.

Last night I skipped Gossip Girl (I know...right? That's dedication.) and worked on the WIP all night. I feel so much better this morning. Now I just have a couple more scenes to write and this section will be complete and I get to shuttle it off to Laura for some serious editing.

Tere Kirkland said...

Ouch. No magic at all? That's enough to send me heading for my TiVo for Stargate Universe and FlashForward. Ahhh, speculative fiction. Goes down smooth.

I go in spurts when it comes to word count goals. Sometimes they freak me out, other times they motivate. I hope you get back into the groove soon. It's not your fault there's so much t.v. to be watched. ;)

Sarah said...

Word counts usually motivate me, but I don't stick too strongly to them or it totally steals the fun.

You know, I definitely understand the fear about your new project (I have a similar problem myself), but all your description did was make me want to read it. It sounds like a book I would totally buy. So hurry up and write it! (No pressure, of course;)

PS: If you find a way to kill technology and procrastination, do let me know. I'll hire you to be my personal hitman!

Little Ms J said...

You should always play Eye of the Tiger. All the time. You know why? It makes me laugh. I sit on my couch and picture you, whom I've never seen, boxing the air in your living room while you sing.

Eff the word count, sister. Writing should be fun.

jessjordan said...

Caroline: I like your method better. Maybe I'll give that a shot :)

Abby: I feel you. That's exactly why I decided against NaNo--too much pressure = not enough fun. And man, you are right. I can back from SCBWI energized and ready to write ... but also very aware of all the pressures of what will sell and what won't and what teens are into and what they're over and ackkkk! I just need to take a step back.

LiLa: You skipped GG?? Now I know this new WIP is good. I've seen your rating system! :)

Tere: Don't get me wrong; I love magic. Big time. But I've put it on the back burner for just a teensy weensy little while. (on a side note, I almost added FlashForward to my List, but decided against it. How is it?)

Sarah: I'll get right on that!! :) Believe it or not, re-reading your comment has actually inspired me to get going, so thank you!! (and TRUST ME ... I'm still working on ways to kill technology and procrastintion, but they are some tough mothers!)

LMJ: I played it the weekend I took the Florida Bar, both mornings before the test. And I DID jump around in the hotel room pumping my fists in the air. And you know what? It worked. So EFF you, Word Count! I'm taking you down.

Shelli said...

just write - your word count will come when it pours out of you b/c you love it!

jessjordan said...

Shelli: perfect advice!