Friday, February 1, 2013

All Work and No Play

I got an email this morning from Holly Lisle (subscribed to her updates) and it really made a lot of sense.

I honestly think it will be useful for Writers out there who get “burned out” simply from setting unrealistic targets.

The post preaches: Writing One Day at a Time.

Enjoy:



Once upon a time, a brand new writer, (we'll call her H... Polly),
figured out that if she wanted to be a pro writer, she was
going to have to produce books at a steady pace, get them
out into circulation regularly, and keep producing.

At first, Polly, who had never yet sold anything, set her goal
for herself to a page a day.  If she got that, she was
fine, and anything over that limit was gravy.  But she
blew past that goal so quickly, she realized instead of
writing one book a year she could write TWO books a year, and
that would be twice as much money.  Excellent.

She upped her pace to two pages a day, and realized she was
still smoking her limits by massive amounts, so she sat down
and figured out what she could do, and what she wanted to do,
and what would pay her enough to get out of her very grim,
bloody, heartbreaking job.

She was motivated.

Twelve pages a day, she decided.  Twelve books a year.
That would more than pay her to leave the ER and never have
to tell another parent his kid hadn't survived, or another wife
that she was a widow; never have to be up to her elbows in
somebody's blood begging him to hang on and hoping that
somewhere inside of him, he could still hear her...and still
cared.

She was motivated.

She was also an idiot.  She set her goal at twelve pages a day,
and twelve books a year, giving herself no time for revision,
no off days, no downtime, to time for coming up with story
ideas.

She had a goal in her teeth, a vision of her future, and
she latched onto it like grim death.

EXACTLY like grim death, actually.

She went from a history of success---of blowing her set limits
out of the water every single time and writing extra for the
sheer thrill of doing it...

...To turning what she loved into sheer drudgery, falling
behind on her insane production schedule almost immediately,
falling further behind every time she sat down to write.

She'd finished a novel on her schedule, (the unfortunately
not-very-good HEARTS IN STITCHES), & was starting another,
when an agent she'd queried, telling him about her magnificent
12-book-a-year plan, did her a huge favor.

He shot her down---quite unkindly---telling her he'd never
consider representing her because a writer working like that
would not be producing anything good.

Considering she was at that moment hating writing, hating
life, and getting damned little done---much less than when her
goal had been a mere one page a day---she ... well, I ... had
to realize he was right.

Human bodies and human minds have physical limits to what
they can be forced to do.

Constantly writing to failure sets your standard as WHAT?

As failure.

If you constantly reset your goal as "more than what I'm doing
now," you WILL FAIL.  And if you do what most writers then do,
and choose that upper limit, that point where you are regularly
failing, as your goal, you will make yourself miserable.

And you'll burn yourself out.

Write the way smart people exercise.  Quit each day while
you know you could still do just as much as you've already
done.

When you're succeeding every day, you're happy.  You feel
awesome.  You bring joy to your work---and it will show in
the quality of everything you produce.

Write with joy.

Lesson Learned: "Rome was truly not built in a day", as long as i can put up at least "One Post a Day" for the reading pleasure of my audience, then am fine. The days i come up with more than one, lovely but i must never forget "why" i write : Simply for Pleasure. 

*Don't forget to share this post with your friends struggling with "Writers block" maybe it will ease off the "tension". 

Smile.

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