Friday, November 03, 2006
I wonder if it is wise to try to manage the creative flame?
I'm really enjoying getting up early. 5:15am this morning and I was writing by 5:35 (with tea and toast - forgot the damn coffee again!). When I come home I'm tired at night, but still charged, some nights I'll manage a few thousand words, other nights little or none. I know if I carry on like this during NaNo I may risk burning out and grinding to a halt, so how do I manage the creative flame?
The way I feel today, I'll get up at 5am, tomorrow, write until about 8am, get Laura up and take her to dancing. Then I'll sit in the coffee shop and write some more. Maybe in the afternoon I will manage a few words and in the evening I know I'll get time since I have no social plans. But is this wise? Should I not put aside some rest time, because I wonder if by doing this I will be contributing to my downfall later on, and that maybe I should chill after working hard during the week, maybe watch some TV and get a pizza.
But when the urge is there, I believe it has to be acted upon. The urge to write is more powerful than many things on this earth - for me anyway - and when it comes, it must be listened to and nurtured. So while I'm in the seam of high motivation, I should make the best of it.
I feel so charged at the moment, relishing the early starts, the writing that comes with it and the feeling of brain-bursting creativity before dawn, I'm just going to keep going no matter what happens. In the first three days of this month, I've already written more words of fiction than I have done in any other month this year. It puts what I've been doing into some kind of perspective. But even when the hard times come, which I know they will, I must keep going. To quote one of Britain's finest men, Sir Winston Churchill; "If you're going through Hell, keep going."
The Zukuto Wordmeter I use to track my word progress seems to have gone down overnight. "Account suspended" according to the domain host. So I have no graphics to display my Work In Progress. If you spot any free word meter utilities anywhere can you drop me a line so I can put it back up?
Moira Allen at Writing World asked these questions in her newsletter today, aimed at questioning if your writing dreams are different from the path you have taken.
1) Am I having fun, or am I bored? Are my tasks challenging and rewarding, or do I constantly have that "been there, done that" feeling?
Oh I'm having fun alright! I'm enjoying my fiction, poetry and doing NaNo. I've been getting published and have a new book coming out. I've not experienced the "been there, done it" feeling, yet. I like to keep things fresh and new, but how long that lasts is anyone's guess.
2) Am I benefiting from this path or getting less from it than I hoped? Is it providing something useful in terms of skill, reputation, or income - or am I stuck in tasks that aren't helping me grow much as a writer?
I'll let my GDR summary of the year sum it up when it arrives. I know I am not stuck and I know I am getting a lot from my work, particularly this year when I have really pushed myself these last few months. I've made myself step out the comfort zone and benefited greatly.
3) Is this path contributing to my ultimate ability to follow my dream path, or leading me farther from my dreams?
Undoubtedly. I'm going in the right direction, learning, evolving and progressing every day.
4) Has my dream path changed? Do I still want to follow the dream I originally had, or have I discovered a new dream?
Unchanged. I'm pretty single-minded when t comes to what I want to do. How I get there is the variable.
5) How long do I want to follow this path? What do I still hope to achieve on this path, and how will I know if and when it may be time to change directions?
Until I die. I want to achieve success in what I love doing - writing. I'll know I'm there when I look back and not before.
6) If I want to change paths in the future - whether to return to my original dream or to follow a new dream - what is my exit strategy? What steps will I need to take, and what might I need to change or give up?
I don't forsee changing paths in the near future, but if I have to for some unforeseen circumstance, I guess I'll rearrange things to suit my life, what's happening in it and with my goals in mind.
I was shattered when I got home and after spending the day in front of a computer screen for the best part of ten hours, I took a couple of hours off to have dinner and watch some TV. A massive headache came on, so I never managed to wrote anything else. Good day though.
NaNoWriMo words today: 2931
Daily NaNoWriMo Progress
Part of that is setting the daily goals for yourself -- even if it's not as high as Nano (which I think is too high a goal and can lead to burn out).
And then, on the days when the flame burns brightly, you follow it as long as you can.
But work on your daily goal; once you hit it, you can keep going, or you can give yourself an R&R break.
Carolyn See suggest 1000 words per day for the rest of your life. That seems like a sane goal.