Daily word counts are an author’s bragging point or shame book, depending on the situation. For six weeks straight, I averaged 3.5K per day (approximately 7 single-spaced pages). That’s a modest amount for a single day, but combined with a six-week average, it produced great results.
The words stopped.
In the past three weeks, I have written approximately 4K. No, not 4K per day. 4K total.
To put the amount into sports terminology, that would be similar to training to run a marathon by running one foot per day. Most days, I could do little more than put on the dumb shoes (see why you should hate shoes?) and sit on my front step, wearily resting my chin in my hands.
That’s a bit like draining the Atlantic Ocean by carrying away one bucketful of water per day.
I could have been better off trying to walk from Los Angeles to New York.
I cursed my books, I cursed myself, I cursed everyone known under the sun and many who were not. I would have wept tears of frustration, except I was too numb to weep at all. Stress, I thought to myself, or change in climate. Hormonal changes. Post-con fatigue. Over-ambitious social plans. Family worries. I spent an entire day on the computer, only to produce three or four words. I felt crushed before I even began.
I thought perhaps trying a short story format had increased my writerly angst. I’d get over it, surely?
After begging, pleading, and considering sacrificing a fatted calf, I wrote 567 words yesterday. I all but turned cartwheels. WOOHOO! 567!
Approximately 30 hours ago, I set up camp with my computer at my favorite all-night diner. I told the staff I had a monstrous deadline, apologized in advance, and said I would be here for a while.
I talked. Sorted out many pieces of my thinking. Delved into the story I was writing. Shed a few tears. (Only a few).
About 2K into this writing marathon, my characters clicked. I waved my white flag and agreed to let them do what they wanted. I didn’t want a happy ending; they did. Guess who won?
Once I yielded, the mind-numbing freeze began to leave my brain. I labored, putting down words I was sure I would hate later.
Then it hit me.
Oh. Em. Gee.
I don’t say this often, but OMFG.
Need a hint? Read “Elegy of a former fiction writer” here
18 years after my father’s cancer stopped me from writing fiction, I wrote my first non-spanking story.
I was stunned. Teary. Overwhelmed. Writing spanking has always been my safety outlet. I’m not writing “real” fiction if I write about spanking. I won’t provoke the inner demons that plagued me for ten years after my dad fought through two rounds of cancer treatments.
Somewhere around Hour 16 of the marathon, sleep deprivation loosening my censors and writing happened.
That amazing point when your silent, stubborn muse opens her arms and enfolds you, lifting your chin to kiss you with the story you were born to tell. The point where you spend 16 hours in a row in front of the computer, fighting every single word until 3+ weeks of writer’s block loosens and the story comes forth. And it is good. #LivingInSin