Speed and distance

When I’m writing well, I write about 1000 words / hour, which means if I wrote full-time, I could draft a novel in two weeks.

I wouldn’t actually do that even if I could, because I injure my hands when I type that much, that quickly. I wrote The Classics Professor, one of my choose-your-own adventure erotic novels, 60,000 words in three weeks because I was on a fast-paced deadline, and they paid me $10K for it, but I injured my hands and couldn’t type for a month afterwards. Lesson learned.

So a more reasonable writing pace is half that — taking reasonable breaks every hour, I should still be able to draft a novel in a month.

But. There’s a huge but to that, which is why NaNoWriMo has never worked for me. I need to do a lot of thinking in advance to be able to write at that speed. I need my plot figured out, my themes developed, my characters to be rich and complex and interesting already. I need to be able to hear their dialogue in my head.

So I’m staring down the barrel of the summer, and calculating that I have roughly two months to do this thing, but there will be some family travel in August, and a long weekend workshop in Minnesota in July, and I’m running a long weekend workshop here at the end of June, and all of that will be good in itself, but will also disrupt the writing, and honestly, it’s hard not to feel panicky about the fact that I’ve written a grand total of, oh, 50 words or so this week.

Trying to go easy with myself, to not freak out about time slipping away. I keep catching myself getting super-crabby about it, angry with myself for not making myself work. I’ve been binge-watching Parks & Rec (will probably be done by the end of the weekend) and also (often simultaneously) playing through a dumb video game (will probably be done with that soon too). I’m not sure why I’m doing either — is it just procrastination, or did I need the mindless downtime?

The kids start camp on Monday, so let’s call this week pre-writing / vacation. A necessary stretch of detangling myself, and also dealing with all the things that fell through the cracks in the chaos of the last month. Yesterday I sorted through a massive pile of paperwork that had been accumulating on the kitchen counter, finding bills to pay, checks to deposit, emission test reminders, invitations I missed, etc. and so on.

This weekend I’ll try to knock out some of that stuff, and some more of the e-mail backlog, which eats at my brain with little nibbles, making it hard to do deep thinking. I’ll also spend a while putting away laundry and doing a seasonal summer winnow of my clothes. I’m hosting a few events too, but am going to try to keep those to a minimum for the rest of the summer, at least during the week. This week has been prep; next week, hopefully, will start the real work.

Time to sink into writing mind.

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