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Stealing time

You know your days are crammed when you can't bear to let even a minute go to waste. Got to my volunteer placement five minutes early today and so sat in the car and read a couple more chapters of my book, because, hey, gotta fit the reading in where I can. Certainly beats standing around in the snow and cold waiting for my match to show up.

Some people (so I've heard) can do the same thing with writing. Doesn't seem to work out too well for me. Most of the time I need at least five minutes to get into the story's state of mind. At least. (Sometimes a half an hour, sometimes never... :P) If I am lucky enough to have an idea just raring to go, then the tearing myself away part becomes the problem. Nothing quite so painful as ripping my attention from the story world my mind is trying to unfold. With a book, though reading in snippets may be disorienting, at least you know that the words are going to be there when you come back to the page. With writing, well, who can say the same for that?




Mar. 12th, 2003 07:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it seems like people are either one way or the other (in terms of writing under pressure). I don't get how people in my courses can sit down and write a ten page paper in the night before it's due, and still pass, let alone get a B. Stress makes my brain start to freeze up. I write these to do lists so I don't have to try to think about everything I need to get done at the same time (which never works and only results in chaos). I've always been the strange person who actually had her essay done a week before it was due, so that it could sit a while before editing.
Mar. 12th, 2003 07:26 pm (UTC)
I guess I should clarify what I meant by writing better under stress. Nearly all the writing I do is done on these internet boards I moderate where a number of other amateur writers, more or less, collaborate on stories set in a fantasy-medieval setting. I reply to the previous posted entries better if I do so as quickly as possible. (at times I have to force myself to do so in fact) If I let myself procrastinate, the story would lag and everyone involved, including myself, ends up bored with it. If I ever sit down to work on an actual novel, things might be different because I suppose that I wouldn't feel the need to rush and yet try to write something that turns out decent. But, there is such a thing as too much stress too, and when that happens, my brain shuts down. Speaking of that, my brain is like pudding right now from too much online reading, so I hope the above made some sense at least. :-)
Mar. 12th, 2003 07:39 pm (UTC)
Ah, online reading, another thing I suck at. :D (Actually, computer-screen reading. Which is why I print out everything for editing purposes.)

I see what you mean about the writing-under-stress; that is a different situation from writing for a deadline. I've done similar, with my previous web-serials, but I usually end up losing enthusiasm for them. It gets into this vicious cycle of sorts where I make myself write even though I don't feel like writing, which means the writing isn't my best, which means I feel crappy about it, which means I'm less likely to feel like writing more... Well, you can see where that goes. After two attempts with similar results, I have sworn off web serials for the time being.

That said, when I have a story underway, it's my policy to write at least a sentence (preferably a page) or more each day until it's done, no matter what. The policy is founded mostly on my paranoia that if I let a story drift I'll lose the flow. Has happened. But I do allow for days when even the one sentence I manage to force out makes me cringe.
Mar. 12th, 2003 07:32 pm (UTC)
I've always been the strange person who actually had her essay done a week before it was due, so that it could sit a while before editing.

That is weird... Actually, I always envied the people who could get their work done ahead of time and then go over it. I'm convinced I would have written much better essays if I had done that, but procrastination was a tough, and I mean tough habit to break, even after I buckled down and got serious about school.

Part of why I'm going for an MFA in creative writing. Those were the only assignments I ever went away excited about, and couldn't wait to start. That, and teaching is something I am apparently pretty darn good at, but that's a different discussion.

Mar. 12th, 2003 08:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't mind being that way. :) It's helpful when I do run into rough patches in other parts of my life, 'cause it means I have extra time to fall back on if I don't get things done according to the original plan. (And honestly, I always plan on getting things done earlier than I really end up getting them done, they're just still early. Heh.) Unfortunately I can't give you any advice, as I have no clue how I got into this mode; I suspect I may have always been in it. I've had to train myself to not feel guilty about, say, skipping the occasional useless class to get real work done. I was such a goodie-two-shoes in high school.

I've contemplated the MFA idea, but at this point I don't feel I can learn anything more about writing other than through reading and, well, writing... and while feedback is great, I've been in university Creative Writing courses, and most people can't seem to give a useful critique to save their lives. I'd rather just write my own thing, on my own schedule. If you think it'll work for you, though, I wish you luck. :)

My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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