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POINT OF VIEW: Writing at a Dead Run

I’m writing my ass off.

Seriously, I haven’t written at this brisk a pace since NaNoWriMo back in… 2014? 2015?

I have the wind at my back. Or maybe it’s a pack of snarling wolves. Or perhsps just the fear of not making it – never quite getting to where I want to be as an author before I die.

Hitting your fifties encourages a whole lot of “what have I done with my life” soul-searching.

Those who follow me (thanks to both of you!) know that I am gearing up to find an agent, to take the next step in this writing career. I have had some amazing success… almost thirty works published! But nothing has really broken out.

I’d planned a rather leisurely stroll to the finish line on “Redemption” – maybe finishing in October? Or November? Then I found out about Pitch Wars, an online contest that helps you through the process of prepping your manuscript with a mentor and then (hopefully) snagging an agent.

The only catch? The finished manuscript is due before the end of September.

Me: Holy crap.

So I am writing like the wind. I did what I always do in these crunch-time situations – I made a spreadsheet to tell me how much I would need to write each day to leave myself time for a second draft, an edit, and a final draft for submission.

I’m averaging 1200-1400 words a day, almost my NaNo pace of 1923.

When I write at a more leisurely pace, I find that my mind has more time to play, to dredge up ideas from deep down in the subconscious, little chunks of plot gold for me to consider as I go.

But I think there’s also an advantage to sustained, every-day writing runs like this, too. I’m engaged with the characters and the plot every single day in a deep and continuous manner. They stay in my mind even when I am not writing. It’s much easier to pick up where I left off each day at noon, when I sit down to write.

And like a well-trained muscle, my brain seems to be catching up with this new frenetic pace. My subconscious now throws up new ideas here and there throughout the day – directions for the plot, worldbuilding ideas, and character details. But instead of writing them all down, I am feeding them back into the world in my head, slowly gaining a clearer and clearer picture of what it’s like – what makes it tick, how all the pieces fit together, and where the story will take me in the end.

At the same time, keeping up this pace requires incredible discipline – to sit down every day at the same time, and to commit to cranking out so many words every single day.

My inner critic is screaming at me regularly:

“You’re writing crap.”

“No one will ever read this.”

You might as well quit. You don’t have enough time to do this right.”

But I roar past him, fueled by my writing, almost drunk on my world.

Will I make it in time? Will I get a mentor at Pitch Wars? An agent? Will any of this work out the way I want it to in the long run?

I honestly don’t know.

I do know I am good enough. I write good stories.

And I know I’ll never find out if I don’t try.

So stay tuned – and keep your fingers crossed for me!

To my writer friends – what’s it like for you writing fast vs. writing slow? Do you have a preference? Any tricks I should know?

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