Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pushing Your Limits

Isn’t it amazing the way the mind works? I’m convinced we psych ourselves out at every turn, and this week I have the proof.

I’m on a deadline—and it’s been one of those Murphy’s Law books. What the heck do I mean by that? Well, I first wrote myself into a corner and then had to replot and rewrite major chunks of the book, then I had a large chunk of data loss which really put a dent in my forward motion, I’ve also had some family stuff going on and you all know stress doesn’t help you write. And then last week I was at the Heather Graham Writers for New Orleans conference.

I had to ask for an extension back during the data loss issue, so I expected this book to be long done by the time I flew to New Orleans, and that didn’t end up being the case. So, I ended up writing on the plane, stealing time during the conference to write and the only panels I attended were the one I was on and the one Cheyenne McCray was on. Where was I? Downstairs writing with a Red Bull energy drink in hand. Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy the conference, and probably didn’t closet myself to write as much as I should’ve. But I had never been to New Orleans before and didn’t want to totally miss out.

That brings me to this past Tuesday when I got home late that night. I collapsed into bed and got up the next morning knowing I had to write my rear off to make this deadline! Now, I was a bit daunted because I usually write about 3K a day – 5K on a stellar day, and once when I was really pressed and spent an entire day tied to my laptop, miserable and brain dead, I wrote 11K. But that’s it. Those were my limits that I had experienced and my brain said that was it.

Starting last Wednesday, I sat down at my laptop every morning, no longer concentrating on word count, but concentrating on getting this damned book done! And I absolutely amazed myself. Ideas kept flowing, words kept coming, and even when I thought it was total and utter crap – I was able to go back later and edit it into something usable. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are still some rough spots from writing so fast, and I’ll have to offer my editor some good alcohol to help me clean it up, but over the past several days, I’ve averaged 10K a day. That was with making sure every hour I took a break and walked around, or ran to Starbucks or took at least 15 minutes away from my computer, and doing either laps in the pool or time on the treadmill for an hour each day.

I’m still having major stress over the looming deadline. I hope to finish the book today so my crit group can look at this last bit while I go back to the beginning and start smoothing and fixing things before I have to mail it off mid week. But it always amazes me when I push my limits and find out I can do more/better.

Not that I want to spend all day every day writing – not exactly a great quality of life. I love writing, but that’s just not healthy. However, when I sit down to do my 3K a day from now on, somehow I don’t think it will look quite so daunting.

Anyway – back to my deadline. Prayers, blessings or general good energy sent my way are all appreciated!! :)



Carolan Ivey said...

[[I’ll have to offer my editor some good alcohol]]

[raising hand] I'll edit you, honey. [grin]

Mechele Armstrong said...

Good vibes are being sent your way. And how amazing. I've often wondered if I pushed how much I could write *shudders*. I'm about a 3-5 Ker on a good day myself.

Mechele aka Lany of Melany Logen

Denise A. Agnew said...


I'm way behind saying howdy to anyone on the blogs this week. Fortunately for me right now I don't have a single deadline. So I'm writing at the pace that suits me. I'm one lucky lady at this point. But I have been under deadlines before, I have to admit I'm not one who works well on a deadline. Yes, I'll get my deadline done, but I think I'm actually better at taking my time. LOL!

Denise A. Agnew

TinaGerow said...

Hi all, thanks for all the comments. I wrote THE END on my story last night after writing eight thousand words. And I've spent today going through critiques as I receive them from my wonderfully patient and quick critique partners :)

I can't wait to mail this bad boy off and start on book 3 for Kensington - I have 10 months until that one is due, but I hope to have it done by the end of December, so I don't have to do this deadline stress again! :)