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A Change In Writing Process

Posted on 02.07.2011 at 15:12
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Over a week ago, I shouldered aside my fears and worries about writing and for the first time in months started a new story. I’ve written almost every day since, missing only one (though I did catch up afterward). That’s because I’ve happened upon a new system that thus far works.

During my MFA program, I had to have a certain amount written by the deadline. Good or bad, it didn’t matter. It needed to get done. Still, I’d have days when I didn’t write anything, then others when I’d crank out ten, twelve pages. Productive, yes—I think I asked for an extension only once—but hardly consistent. Hardly the kind of regular discipline a professional writer needs. And though the resulting stories were nowhere near as terrible as I imagined, I knew that, even as first drafts, they could be better.

Now, I have no deadlines. I don’t have a mentor expecting a monthly packet of fiction. I’m not paying for a degree compelling me to write (a huge motivator, by the bye). It’s just the page and me. So instead of aiming for my usual quota of three pages a day—a goal I’d meet only sporadically—I’ve scaled it back. Three pages on days off, one page every day I’m working.  I feel so much better about this setup. I’m not kicking myself for missing a day because catching up isn’t so large a task. Even when I’m tired and can’t focus, I don’t find writing a single page difficult or intimidating. And writing regularly keeps my mind in the story. When I go back to it, I feel immersed, without much reacquainting. I remember. And while the story may not be written with the same frenzy as my old method, and though the prose is stiff from lack of practice and the anxieties I haven’t completely dispelled, the story’s getting done. Also, I’m not dreading revising it. I’m almost looking forward to it. Almost.

Eventually I may work my way up to a higher daily page count. For now, I’m writing. For now, that’s all that matters.



Comments:


Blood of Winter
blood_of_winter at 2011-02-07 20:40 (UTC) ()
I find a one page goal less intimidating that say, 1,000 words etc. Normally, unless it's a really bad day, I actually find myself exceeding one page because I'm caught up in the excitement of creating something.
Matt
iamrazorwing at 2011-02-14 14:58 (UTC) ()
Definitely. I think I'm planning to up my quota to two pages a day at some point soon, if only because I rarely stop after just one.
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