Word count marathon, day 7
Saturday, October 23, 2010 at 1:25 PM
Writer's Cramp in book 1, on writing, personal, process, revision, word count, writer's block

Despite interruptions, work continues on the Great Word Massacre of Aught 10. (Yes, I know it can’t be an Aught if it’s year 10, just go with me here.) I’ve had little time, thus made slow progress, but it’s progress nonetheless. This is a cumulative revision from the last week or so:

Starting word count: 236,303

Ending word count after revising Chapters 41 through 44: 234,792

# words cut: 1,511

I have most of the weekend to spend on revisions, so I’m hoping to clear some big swathes through the verbiage landscape. I also have Monday, which I took off (something about “a ridiculous number of unused vacation days, missy!” from our illustrious HR Director at my office) and plan to spend doing yet more revisions.

Speaking of time and the act of finding it, I’ve been thinking about John Scalzi’s post from last month about finding — or more accurately, making — the time to write. “When did you find the time to write this?” is a question I get asked a lot when people find out about my book, especially how long it is. Inevitably, the conversation turns toward how we do or don’t fit in the things we need and want to do. Scalzi’s point that you make time for the things that you really want to do is absolutely true, and doubly so for writing. As the old writing advice goes, the number one rule about writing is butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

To take it a little further, I think when writing is something you not only want to do but need to do, you simply can’t not do it. It’s not an option. I could no more not write than I could not breathe, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether I’m published, will be published, or am even any good at it. I will forego sleep, meals, and most other responsibilities in order to write. It’s meant sacrifices, too, and finding the balance between writing and everything else is a daily juggling act for any writer no matter what their circumstances are. Really, though, isn’t that true for everyone no matter what their particular passion happens to be?

Which isn’t to say there aren’t slumps. Eru knows I’ve been in a slump for the last couple of years (ye gods and little fishes, has it really been that long?) and it’s been difficult as hell to cope with not having my daily routine of writing. Coming to terms with that reality has been as much a struggle as the actual struggles that have caused the slump in the first place. But as I seem to be emerging out of that period, I have a better appreciation than ever of just how critical writing is to my sense of well-being. And thus, how important it is to make time for it.

Article originally appeared on B. Jenne' Hall: writing and other pursuits (http://www.bjennehall.com/).
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