Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This Week

Today, I made the mistake of mentioning my (admittedly crazy) attempt to write 15 pages every day for the next week. Like most of what I say on Twitter, I expected this to get lost in the white noise of people's feeds.

Yeah, right.

First, my friend Lisa Schroeder did some math and pointed out that - if I wrote one page per 30 minutes (slower than my normal rate, of course) - this plan would require 7.5 hours of writing per day.

Then Steve Brezenoff retweeted it with a simple "Lol" that made me think, "Wait - is this really that crazy?"

And then there were various Fear of God quotes and remarks about Holy Production, Batman! and other sorts of comments that, really, I never expected.

It's actually pretty simple. I'm trying to recreate the first moments of my writing life. Years ago, in graduate school, I'd spend hours in my living room - writing until I could barely keep my eyes open. Loving every minute of it. It was nothing for me to write 20-30 pages a day then. Granted, most of it was shit. But still - I was writing.

Eight years later, I've got an agent, obe unsold novel, one that never went out, and I'm writing something that makes me look at all the time I've spent working, all the failure and disappointment and thoughts of quitting, and think, "Okay, this is the reason. This one is good." It makes me feel the way I felt in graduate school. Like the next sentence could take me someplace I never expected.

So 15 pages a day. Yes, it's excessive. And there's a good chance I won't reach my daily goal - kids, life, Netflix all seem to get in the way, right? But after I spent so much time - a year, a year - nitpicking my way to the end of a book that ultimately didn't work, I want to do something a bit daring. I want to do something that pushes me. Then, at the end of the week, failed or not, I will be closer - to the end, to knowing who these characters really are. To having a book I can send out into the world once again.

So 15 pages. Right or wrong, win or lose, stupid or not - there it is. And here's hoping that, when it's over, I'll have something that surprises me. Something that helps me catch a glimpse of what this story can be.


  1. Go for it. That "life" part will get in the way, but it's like I've told another writer friend of mine: it's okay to be selfish at this stage. You need to put writing on the top, just below family and financial security. Because in the end, your selfishness when it comes to writing NOW could/should help both of those other top priorities (family and finances). You know my summer routine, in which I wrote about 5-8K per day, and that was comfortably within your 15 pages per day goal. It can be done when you set that time aside for writing. Do it.

  2. Oh, it's possible.
    When I have a day of quiet, I can put down 4-6k a day on a new draft, much like Mike up there. I don't always do that on consecutive days, though, so it's not like I can write a 60k book in 10 days. Actually, now that I'm looking at the math, I might try...I end up rewriting every word in revision anyway.

  3. You can do it, but don't try and prove anything...just write. And some of what you write today will be shit too, but that's okay! Keep on writing. Yup.

  4. Lily - I can put this many words down pretty easily, actually... The problem becomes one of investing the time and not finding distractions.

    Jonathon - thanks. And I know! As I said above, even if I fail - I win.

  5. It's important to find that passion that brought you to writing. When I lose that, I feel a bit lost myself.

  6. You can do it! I have total faith in you! I think it's a great goal. :)


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