So much for the plan to edit at least two chapters a day. That intention triggered a several-days long period of no editing at all. Or maybe it wasn’t a trigger, just as matter of coincidence. At least I have a believable excuse, thanks to Ruth Harris. It isn’t often that attempts to classify people work out very well, for instance: pantsers vs. planners. It just isn’t that simple. But her little list of three types of writers defined by their working speed and habits hit my ‘yes’ bump.
The post: Speed Kills, or Does it? is subtitled How to Write Fast(er) without Going Bonkers. It’s a far cry, thank goodness, from those assurances that if writer Speedy can churn through 5,000 words a day and produce a complete, edited novel in six weeks, then you can do it. And should. Because Harris says that you need to know your own working style, whether it’s steady, spurt, or sprint. You’ll have to read the post for her explanations of steady and sprint, but spurt hits me right where I live. “Spurt workers tend to write in extremely productive bursts. They also need a few days off to regroup and catch up with themselves between intense writing sessions.”
Yes, yes, yes. It’s nice to have a name for it rather than berate myself for quitting just when I seem to be getting ahead. It’s another of those areas where I blame myself for personal characteristics that are built in. The idea isn’t to use that as an excuse, but to understand it and allow myself room to write in the way that suits me best. And of course, that includes editing, formatting, and even designing book covers. Editing can be very satisfying when it’s going well, but it takes such intense concentration that it burns out the brain synapses in a way that the actual writing usually doesn’t.
I can wish my style was ‘steady’ but every time I’ve tried to set up a reasonable schedule, whether for writing or editing, I’ve totally failed. My brain just doesn’t work that way. In fact, it isn’t steady at anything. I suspect that it stems from my need for constant variety in most areas of my life, and a brain that seizes on one thing at a time and exhausts it in a big blaze. Steady is boring, says my brain, and I’ve learned that there’s no point in trying to argue with it.
Today, I’m back at work editing Expendable. Two are finished. I should be able to get one or two more done by the end of the day. I’d like to continue that pattern for the next four days, and get to ProWritingAid Tuesday or Wednesday. But it probably won’t happen. Or maybe it will. But I’m not procrastinating. Really.