In Writing

Besides all the usual Memorial Day weekend activities (a parade, visiting my mom, hanging out with friends), I had an amazing weekend. The reason? I wrote 15,000 words on my work in progress. To put it in perspective, my first book (and the intended word count for this book) is 60,000. So I just wrote 25% of a book this weekend.

I have had flashes of massive word count output throughout my life. Just about every high school and college paper I ever wrote was the product of binge writing. (And, despite the dire warnings from teachers and professors, no, they couldn’t tell. I always got great grades on them). I wrote the version of THE SECRET SIDE OF EMPTY that sold in 10 days, with one glorious 10,000 word binge day in there in which time stood still and I just went at it barely stopping to eat (and barely noticing).

Days like this remind me that there is something here, some “rightness,” some flow. I’ve begun to learn to go with it when it happens. It’s an amazing feeling, like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

The part that’s still a mystery is: why the ebbs and flows? Why are there days – so many days – when it’s a Herculean effort to squeeze out 1,000 words? Why are there so many days I can’t bring myself to sit in front of the page at all? Why all the resistance? Is it lack of discipline? An overburdened mind? What?

I welcome stretches like this one like a gift from the gods. I revel in them. I savor them. I hold on to the memory of them through the mute days. I work every day to accept that the same mind that writes 15,000 words in a long weekend sometimes can’t write a single one.

But, boy, are the 15,000 word-ers way more fun.

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