Whored Out drug itself limping past 11,000 words last night. It’s been slow going and I’m definitely hitting the point in the process where I’m not really satisfied with anything that’s hitting the page. I’ve been doing this long enough now to know that it’s something that hits me with every project. The closer it gets to the end the more tempted I’ll be to set it aside in favor of something that feels like it’s making more progress. There’s surely some deep psychological reason for that. There are also deep psychological reasons people are afraid plants. Neither feels very practical when it comes time to just get through the day.
I could go ahead and tell you that I’m going to sit down this weekend and hammer out the ending. That would be the easy way out tonight. It would put me on the hook an make me feel guilty if I didn’t hit the mark by the bedtime Sunday night. It also virtually guarantees that there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll be done this weekend. Then on Monday I’ll have to issue a public retraction, explain what happened, and generally make myself feel worse about the whole thing. As you might have guessed, I’m not going to make any projections tonight. If it gets there, great, if not, there’s always next week.
Honestly, my real struggle these days is just sitting down and making myself do the work. That’s not easy to admit. I realize, though, you don’t get to think of yourself as a professional if you’re not making a commitment to doing the work. The easiest thing in the world would be to sit back and just write whenever the mood strikes me. That would be maybe one or two nights a week. The harder thing, the better thing, the one that requires way more discipline is sitting down every night making it happen especially when motivation gets low, eyes get tired, and there doesn’t feel like there’s much to give.
Have a mentioned that I really, really hate this time in the life of a work in progress?
I’m back to writing with both hands again. That doesn’t sounds like much of a big deal unless you suddenly find yourself unable to do it for any length of time. My advice to everyone out there is not to take your hands for granted. I’m serious. Really stop and marvel sometime at all the things you’re able to do with them over the course of the day. I’d say that’s double important for your non-dominant hand. For me it least not getting much use out of it was really informative to just how much I reach and grab and fold and lift with my left hand every day. Sure, I could get by without it, but it would be far more traumatic than I could have possibly imagined.
Now that my hand is healed and writing is – at least for the time being – once again part of my daily routine, I’m looking forward to keeping the progress I’ve made in the last couple of weeks. I’m not where I wanted to be by now. I’m coming to terms with that being OK. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, but I’ve found that being down on myself because I missed a word count, or layed out a day just isn’t productive. If anything it’s made it harder for me to want to sit down and do this job that I love.
You see, I’m deathly afraid of that advice that many novice writers get – to treat their craft like a job. I’ve hated every “job” I’ve ever had. I love writing. Treating it like “work” just sounds like the fast track to making it just another thing I hate doing five times a week. I don’t want that. In fact, I’d rather give it up and remember it as something I loved doing than letting it turn into another job. I’ve had plenty of those in my life, but great passions have been a hell of a lot harder to come by. I feel like I need to protect the ones I have, because God only knows when another might come along.
This who experience of one handed writing is a hell of a lot harder than I anticipated. As much as it’s giving me a fresh respect for people who have to deal with this sort of thing on a more permanent basis, so far what it’s mostly done is piss me off. The worst part is when I forget my left arm is still tender and accidentally rotated everything into “writing position.” A quick jolt of pain racing from your wrist to your shoulder is an awfully good reminder that you’re not supposed to do that, even if it does lack a certain subtlety.
The best news is that despite the slowly healing injury, I’m still managing to get some things done. The words don’t add up as quickly as usual, but I like to think I’m using better ones to compensate for that. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s what I’m telling myself – and letting myself believe until things are completely back in order.
A few dozen words and the first draft of Whored Out will find itself over the 10,000 word mark. That will make it one of my largest “free standing” short stories to date – and certainly the one that’s taken the longest to write. There’s easily a few thousand more words in it before we get to the ending I want, so it will be getting bigger yet before I can start chopping away at it through ruthless editing. The end isn’t quite in sight for this first draft, but I’m writing and I’m happy. That’s nothing to complain about.
I’m not generally known as a klutz, but I do manage to have my moments. I took a bit of a stumble this weekend and jammed up most of the left side of my body. My shoulder, elbow, and wrist appear to have caught the worst of it. That’s bad enough in daily life, but for a guy who’s day job and night job both center around the keyboard and written words, well, it’s literally adding insult to injury. Although nothing seems to be broken, I’ll be going through a lot of life one handed for a little while until things start healing. Given the amount of time it’s taking me just to put this post together tonight, it’s a safe bet that my word count is going to be going way down. I’ll keep at it as best I can, but I can only get some much done hunting and pecking with one hand.
At least it was my non-dominant side that took the hit. I’d be pulling my hair out by now if I were trying to keep up with this left handed. It hurts my head just thinking about that possibility. So, for the next few days if you’re wondering what I’m up to, I’m just hanging out typing about seven words a minute trying not to lose my mind. I think once the wraps come off, I might be able to type again as long as there are no other sudden movements. You know, when I mentioned things always jumping up and distracting me, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it doesn’t really surprise me at all.
Not much to say tonight other than I’ve managed to drag myself kicking and screaming back to having some semblance of discipline about writing on a daily basis. It took way, way more effort than it should have, but I don’t think I want to talk about that – or at least not to say anything more than it is so incredibly easy to fall out of the habit buy so damnably hard to pick it up again. Unfortunately, this a lesson I need to learn the hard way over and over and over again.
We’re cruising on towards 9,000 words now. I’m happy with where the story has been and where it’s headed. In the end, maybe that’s enough.
Over the last three days I didn’t blog. I didn’t write. I didn’t even scribble down any notes to use later. What I did do for the last three days was take a proper, if abbreviated, vacation. No laptop, no tablet, no phone, just lots of time to lose myself in other people’s writing and in the beauty of my surroundings. That kind of get away was long overdue. Even though I don’t get stressed out over writing, my day job can be a real son of a bitch, so it’s nice to be reminded from time to time that there is a whole world out there that doesn’t give a damn whether I show up at the office or not.
I should probably feel guilty about not turning those good vibes of relaxation into a few thousand words, but I don’t. My only actual regret from the weekend was that I couldn’t find a way to extend it by 30 or 40 days. Sitting at someone else’s desk. Chasing someone else’s ambitions is a piss poor way to spend a life even if it does pay the bills. Who knows, maybe that’s the best incentive I could possibly find to keep writing no matter what. As long as my fingers keep mashing away on the keys, there’s at least a fighting chance of being able to spend my days doing something so much more productive.
I scratched out about 600 words this week. That doesn’t sound like much to anyone, myself included, but since I’m all about being as open and honest as my situation allows, the least I could do is report that I did keep up at least a small measure of forward momentum this week. Those 600 words don’t sound like much effort by any measure, but they’re what I managed to grind out in the margins – sitting at traffic lights, waiting for my coffee to brew, and even sitting on the can. They’re the words that managed to get on the page when ever other free minute was booked solid with “something else to do,” so my pride in those few words is all out of proportion to how many of them there are.
This weekend is going to be a wasteland for writing, but there’s easier sailing over the horizon. By Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, I should be able to get this thing back on track. I think I’m passed the middle of Whored Out, now and I’m even starting to get of sense of where this story needs to end up. It’s the point where the early motivation is used up and the high of being close to a first draft isn’t anywhere in sight. I’m in the doldrums and all I know how to do is put my head down and work through them. No one ever tells you about that really glamorous part of trying to crash the gates of the erotic story business.