Today, Week Four begins. Between the thunderstorm and my too-comfortable pillow, I’m off to a late start this morning!
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of last week while I was experiencing it.
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re constantly working, but don’t feel like you’ve gotten very far? That was my week, last week. I spent a lot of time on my novel, but wasn’t quite sure how to judge my progress.
The first draft came so quickly, and I judged my progress by my sky-rocketing word count. (Well, sky-rocketing on some days. Kite-high, on others.) I’d end the day with pages commensurate with my time spent, and I’d feel über-productive.
Progress is not so easily measured this time around. You’d think that with knowledge of where the story needs to go, it would get written quicker – not so. Writing better takes more time. It takes more focus, more concentration. It means making sure action, dialogue, and motivation are all fitting for my characters. It means becoming a scene wizard, where I accomplish a few layers of things at one time. And, it means condensing paragraphs of unnecessary, empty words into a few meaningful, accurate sentences.
In short: lower word count, more time spent. A paradigm shift in the definition of productivity.
Friday morning, I typed the final line of a particularly difficult chapter. Everything clicked. The scene felt like it came together in just the right way, layered and not too in-your-face. Suddenly, all those hours of fastidious focus exploded into this exciting sense of satisfaction. No questions, anymore – it was, without a doubt, a productive week.
I might feel like a snail, but I’m finding the payoffs are higher with this draft. Well-written scenes trump quickly-scribbled ones, for sure.
PS: Thank you all for your feedback on my last few posts. I’m loving the privilege of reading your stories, what drives you, and your thoughts on things. Your blogs are fun to read, too. So, thanks again.