Productivity! Huzzah!

Last night I thought I had about fifteen minutes before my husband was coming up, so I grabbed my notebook and began to pen a short story that’s been on my mind. I wrote the first chunk of this story in one of Brian Henry’s phenomenal classes last year and have been most aggravated to be unable to find that excerpt now that the idea has bitten me once more.  For weeks I’ve been meaning to jot down some notes about this (and about another short that’s been bouncing around in my head) but just haven’t managed it. So last night when some actual phrases came to mind, I took advantage and just started writing. Well, it turned out that my husband wasn’t just taking out his contacts – he was doing work. As such, he didn’t come up for an hour. And I wrote nearly 800 words. Was it phenomenal prose? No. It was first draft work (and very first draft work) and I have to bear that in mind especially since I’m into a second draft editing stage of the novel where the prose is leaps and bounds better than this. But that all started somewhere too. And when that one started, it probably read a lot like what I wrote last night.

Then, this morning in the shower I decided to change the main character in this short from a man to a woman and by the afternoon I’d managed to not only type out what I’d written (in the new character’s voice) but I also added a bit. This short is now over 1200 words! And I think I know where I want it to go. The question now is whether or not I’ll manage to rein it in before I have another novel on my hands.

I’ve also had a great deal of success with the novel editing over the past few days. At the moment I have nine of those ‘highlight’ sections left (I started with 33). Now these are nasty edits, where I may have to go through the manuscript and put in little lead ups and things of that sort. But nonetheless, I’ve gone from 33 to 9 in just a few days, so I’m probably going to only tackle one or two a day from here on in. And then yes: draft two will be done! (and apparently I didn’t need to wait for draft two to be done to throw myself into an unrelated piece.)

So in the past few days I’ve managed to get down 1200 words of a short, and blow away a large number of the more difficult sections of editing. Go me! I think I’ll give the fact that I returned to yoga this week after a (too) long hiatus at least part of the credit. My small town didn’t have any prenatal options while I was pregnant with Baby D (of course NOW they do) and then it took a while for me to convince myself that I had the energy to work out at all. They put me through a brutal time but it was worth every second and I’m hoping to be able to make time for it at least once a week now, if not twice. And hey, if it ups my writing productivity that would be one hell of a side bonus!

Right now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that this ramped-up creativity continues for my writing group tonight. It’s our last meeting of the summer, but come mid-Sept we’ll be back at it, plus I’ll be in another of Brian Henry’s classes. Very much looking forward to such a writing-intensive autumn!

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Panic=productivity. And good thing, too.

I’m taking a short break from the writing at the moment while I try to sort out the perspective for the next section. I’m hoping that the inspiration for it will come to me in some sort of tidal wave-esque type of rush in the next 15 minutes or so, so that I can make some productive use out of the rest of my day. What’s more likely, however, is that I will spend the rest of the afternoon getting annoyed about not being able to make a decision and dithering about on facebook and the like.

Regardless of that, I’m pleased to say that the reason I haven’t been updating at all recently is because I’ve been using every spare second I can find to work on the manuscript. I’m happy to see that I still have that magical panic=productivity talent that I made use of so often in school. The thought that I might not get this anywhere near done before I become some sort of sleep-deprived (loving, maternal) robot is freaking me out.  And now I can report that the end is, in fact, in sight.  The MS is going to be longer than I’d hoped…at the moment it sits at 120K and I still have one major section plus one side story to complete.  So yeah, I’m probably looking at 150.  Sigh. Looks like once I come back into the land of the living it’s going to be the land-of-the-living-as-an-editor.

As a side note, I’ve also realized that I’m going to have to rewrite a lot of the side-story. I’d pulled most of that directly out of an old manuscript but now that major character’s motivation has changed and, with it, most of his story.  Ah well, that’s actually the least of my concerns.

A few things I’ve determined during this blog hiatus:  First is that I have to take breaks, albeit short ones, on my writing days.  I can’t just sit and write for eight hours, as delightful as that sounds. Maybe if I had everything planned out to a T and knew exactly what everyone was going to say and do before they did it. Maybe. (I seem to recall having occasional days like that in the past). But now, even a 15 minute break to go change over the laundry and do some folding can make a world of difference.  I can wander off thinking that I won’t be able to get back to my writing for a week and suddenly the path for the next section will just appear before my eyes. Allowing myself those little breaks is part of why I’ve been able to do accomplish so much recently.

I’m also forcing myself off of things like facebook while I write. I give myself an hour – write from, say 9-10 and then at 10 allow myself 10 minutes online.  That usually lets me catch up things like email and FB and I’m not checking it every 30 seconds. Unfortunately I’ve not been following all of my blogs as much as I’d like because of this policy, but maybe I should try catching those up in the evenings…generally by then I’m too tired to write, even if it hasn’t been a ‘writing day’.

Writing class starts up again on Monday and while I’m very excited about this, I’m also going in more apprehensive than usual. Probably because I was one of the people selected to give a 3K section to the class last week that they are all going to critique for me on Monday. I agonized over what to send and I’m happy with what I did send, but it still makes me cringe.  Hey, it can’t be any worse than the conference, right?  Right?

To add to that, I also discovered that I’m on the list for “read a short piece to the class on the spot for critique” for the following week! I understand why he’s put me in the first two weeks (as I could disappear at any moment to go have a baby) but I’m still pretty stressed out about it all.  Oh, and I’m going to finish writing the manuscript over the course of these next few weeks as well.  Okay, then, I’m sure I’ll have time for that. Especially with Kid 1 home with me for an entire week of that during March break.

On that note, I guess it’s time to go hang up some laundry and see if the next section will work itself out for me while I do so.