I was chatting with a few people on Twitter last night and came to the realization that I’m not alone when it comes to being impatient with my writing.
I’m the type of person who thinks faster than he types. Sometimes I’m in such a good flow that I miss typing entire words. My muse spits out sentences faster than I can put them on the screen. This is good! It means I’m excited about the story and as such, I hope the reader will feel that excitement when they read it. After all, if I was bored writing the book, how could I ever expect a reader to enjoy it?
But there’s another type of impatience. The kind that wants us to finish our books too quickly. Don’t mistake this for ambition, because they can look a lot alike. Being eager to finish our books and being frustrated we’re not done yet are two different things.
Take my second book, Shift, for example. I only have a few chapters left that I’d hoped to finish on the weekend. Well, I didn’t get more that a few hours writing done on the weekend and the writing I did made very little progress. So I made a goal for the end of the week, but that’s not looking great either. I just don’t have the creative flow I need right now to deliver the proper ending. Sure I could force it, but I’ve learned already in doing that, I only hurt the story, making makes more work in the editing process than I want. So I take a step back.
Now I’m reading the last few chapters that I wrote, making sure they flow and ensure their working towards the ending I’m plotting. They do! Great! Now I need to brainstorm on how to get where I want to be. The last few weeks I’d averaged 5000 – 8000 words a night! That’s incredible for me, but this week, I’m lucky if I hit 1500. Before I learned this lesson of patience (which is an ongoing process) I’d be frustrated with this. I used to try and force the ending, but I’d just end up making even less progress. Now I realize I need to take advantage of the writing when the creative juices are really flowing and when that urge comes to me, I’ll pump out the last few chapters. That doesn’t mean I won’t sit down and write every night, I will. It does mean that if the pages aren’t coming as quickly as I’d like, I won’t get mad.
You can’t pressure yourself to finish a story. You’re muse will let you know when it’s ready and how to get to the end, but if you push it, you could end up doing more damage than good.
If you hit a rough patch in your story, don’t get frustrated. I know it’s easier said than done but trust me when I say “getting mad doesn’t solve your problem.” Instead, do some social networking, read a book, read a blog, do a dance, eat some ice cream, or work on another project. The point is, it doesn’t matter what you do, but the more energy you spend dwelling on your lack of progress, the more lack of progress you’ll see.
Of course, this is all my opinion, but if your stuck and you want to take my advice, sit down and relax. Take a load off, put up your feet, and do something to take your mind off of it. You’re story will thank you in the end, as will your sanity.