Friday, June 24, 2011

Something Unexpected

Early this month, one of my writing colleagues issued a challenge: write 30,000 words by June 30. Although a more sane person would simply smile, perhaps shake her head and walk away, I did just the opposite. "I'm in!" I typed, before I could change my mind.

It's been an interesting month.This challenge has clearly caused me to write differently, at least some of the time. I'm a discovery writer, refusing to bound to an outline or even a plot line, but most of the time, I write scenes in order. In order to keep getting words on the page, however, I'm finding myself writing scenes out of order, then trying to connect the dots. It is very frustrating at times, but it also has its advantages.

Today, for example. I reached what was supposed to be the end of my writing time, and left my current scene in a good place - one where I could jump in right away the next time I sat down at the computer - or so I hoped anyway.

But then I found that I was just 149 words shy of clearing the 21,000 word mark. Could I write another 149 words? Sure I could. In the scene I'd just left at a good stopping point? Not such a good idea.

So I scrolled down to a scene bit I'd written the other night. In less than ten minutes, I had 176 words, had moved that scene forward and left my original scene just where I wanted it. Neither scene is finished, nor are they yet connected to one another through the chain of scenes that will come in between, but both have left the writing door open.

Overall, this month has reinforced my belief that I am a "write for this block of time" writer, not a "write this many words in a day" writer. Still, it's undeniable that taking this challenge has spurred me to put more words on the page than I would have otherwise.

I guess we all need to try something unexpected every once in a while. 


Golden Eagle said...

That's what I usually end up doing if I'm just shy of a certain word goal, too--add words to another scene so I don't change where I stopped.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

That's one disadvantage of writing in a linear "other" scenes to add words to!

Caroline said...

Lisa, you're doing great. I wish I could say the same, but life interrupted by intentions. Nevertheless, I have gotten a good start on a couple novels. Nothing like I wanted, but still have a few days. I'll be happy w/an adjusted 10 grand.

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

Thanks, Caroline. I think the hardest part has been taking care to keep things in balance and not to lose sight of the rest of the world. That's been my prayer for the group - that we meet our goals, while keeping our lives in balance. Definitely tricky.