Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Every-day Writer

We’re back! And for the first time in my life, I got some significant writing done on a trip!

(And by significant, I mean I worked through about four pages of my second draft. Which gives you an idea of how much writing I’ve been able to do on trips in the past.)

Now I know what you’re thinking: “What’s up with the exclamation? What’s so exciting about working through four whole pages (snicker, snicker) on vacation?” Or maybe you’re thinking, “She’s writing? ON VACATION? Doesn’t she know she’s not supposed to go anywhere near a word processor on a trip?”

Both of which would be perfectly reasonable things to be thinking, I might add. But this is a huge achievement for me, because I’m what you might call an every-day writer.

Not an everyday writer, mind you. (That is, I hope my writing isn’t ordinary, common, or mundane). An every-day writer. Which means I write SOMETHING, usually my work-in-progress, pretty much every day. (I do take Sundays off, but that’s another post.) Every. Single. Day.

I’ve wondered why this is. I’ve wondered why I start getting cranky after two or three days of not-writing (and why, after two or three weeks, I’m an absolute ogre). And I’ve wondered why some writers, like Kiersten White, can write in these huge, creative spurts--so huge that they can take several weeks off and still stay on track--when I have to chug along, five hundred words every day, the Little Krista That Could.

I don’t know why we all write so differently (except that we’re all so different), but I think the reason I write every day is because it’s my release. It’s what I do to recharge, to stay sane. It’s what I do between rounds--of cooking, and cleaning, and diapering, and life. Writing is like my trainer, I guess. Patching up my split lips. Wiping the blood and the sweat from my eyes.

So what sort of writer are you? And is writing your trainer--or your taskmaster?

15 comments:

A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

I could say writing for me is a bit of both but mostly my trainer. I love the way you describe that writing as your trainer. Superb!

Pam Harris said...

I always squeeze in time to write, unless I'm under pressure to write something by a deadline. Usually, I prefer having deadlines because without them, I don't think I'd ever get a first draft done. Great post! :)

Myrna Foster said...

I get cranky if I don't write regularly, but I don't have to write every single day. It depends on what kind of writing project I'm working on.

Krista V. said...

Angela, good point - writing is often a little of both:)

Pam, first drafts take forever, don't they?

Myrna, so what are you working on now that I have your baby? :)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I'm just like Myrna. I get cranky when I don't write, but I don't write every single day. Some days I write a ton -- stay up till the wee hours of the morning, crank out several chapters because I just can't stop. Other days I don't even sit down at the computer. Maybe I'll be more consistent some day, but this style works well for me now in this season of life. Plus, it's sort of my personality to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of writer. :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I write in spurts. I try and do something "writing" every day, whether it's research, writing a query, editing, critiquing, taking photographs or working on a manuscript. When woring on a manuscript I get so focused that I work until my head hurts or I'm emotionally exhausted. That happened to me today. My brain was fried from working on revisions of a rhyming picture book manuscript, so I switched to the mg hf novel I'm working on...

Krista V. said...

And I guess that says something about my personality, too, Amy - I'm definitely a planner. And I, like my eleven-month-old, THRIVE on routine:)

Sharon, picture book writers never cease to amaze me:) Good luck with that, and with your MG manuscript.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

If I'm away from writing for very long I become listless. Writing gives me purpose, so I understand what you're feeling. But on vacation? Hmm...that may be why I don't go on long vacations. Interesting. Thanks for the therapy! :)

Krista V. said...

Happy to oblige, Kathi:)

Donna said...

I love your question. My writing is the answer to my minds questions. I think about things all the time..and then I have to write. I write to understand, I write to examine the things in my life that just don't make sense. I write for the people who don't have a voice. I can give them a voice so that they can feel.
The worst part of life is thinking you are alone..that no one else struggles as you do. Writers bridge those gaps...it's a good thing.

Krista V. said...

Well said, Donna.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm very much like you, Krista. I can't survive if I'm not writing everyday. And I don't just mean leaving comments on blogs (though I seem to spend a lot of my time doing that). I miss my characters if I abandon them for more than a day. ;)

Having said that, I'm going to try to cut back during the summer, though I'm not sure how successful I'll be. I might last a few days before going crazy.

Krista V. said...

Nice to know I'm not alone, Stina:) And good luck with the cutting back. Despite being an every-day writer, I do think it's a good idea to take a break every now and then.

Heather said...

Sorry to jump in on this conversation so late, but I fell behind on reading lately, and I'm just now catching up. I write every day, too. There's actually a lot of research out there that suggests that writing for a little bit every day is WAY more productive than writing for a big chunk once or twice a week. (Check out Robert Boice's research on the subject--I think you can probably google it. The gist is that the information stays fresher in your brain and you don't have to do much "catching up" when you sit down to write.)

This blog is great! Thanks!

Krista V. said...

Heather, thanks for the comment. I hopped over to your website and noticed that your book sounds very familiar, like I read an excerpt of it once on the Miss Snark's First Victim blog. Have you ever submitted anything over there?