*Okay, first off, you all gotta go check this out . . . Just in case you didn't see it on Miss Snark. Go Pat! You totally rock!!*
Back to our regularly scheduled blogging.:)
I took my kids to Hogle Zoo yesterday. We got a family pass from my mom for Christmas this year and it has finally been warm enough to go. My daughter in particular loves the Zoo so much! We go every year on her birthday because this girl eats, drinks, and breathes animals. So we had a fun time: saw rhinos and elephant and monkeys and zebras. You know, the typical zoo experience.
Do you remember going to the zoo when you were little? I do, and I seem to remember having boundless energy and staying for like five or six hours. (On field trips mostly.)
Well, we got there at 10:00 AM and were all funned out by 12:30. So we went home.:)
What does this have to do with writing? Well I'll tell you . . .
No, I'm kidding.:)
At the zoo, my daughter walked at least three times as far as I did because she would do that thing where she runs ahead to see what's next, runs back to tell you what's next, and then runs ahead again to make sure it hasn't gone away. On top of that, she ran around the playground for almost an hour while I sat and rested. Now, it's not just at the zoo that she does this; she does this all day every day. This girl has infinite bounds of energy that just flow from her.
Me, I have to have breaks.:)
But the difference between her and me is that she's not generally getting a whole lot done--and certainly not efficiently--she's just running around and having a great time doing it.
I may need to sit down every half hour and rest (less often when I'm not pregnant, thank goodness) but in those half hour stints I am doing dishes and making dinner and cleaning the toy room and kissing hurts and brushing hair and any number of tasks. Trust me, I know how to squeeze the most chores possible into a half-hour period . . . usually the half hour before my husband gets home.:)
This really did get me thinking about writing. When I wrote my first book (and I'm going to call the book that is currently out on submission my first book even though there's a very confusing story about how it's my first, third and fourth book . . . I won't go into that here.:)) I would get up in the morning and type furiously. When I couldn't put off being a mom any longer I would dash from the computer, take care of my kids, and generally plop them down in front of an educational video. (My kids watched tons of educational shows while I was writing The Chain and the Sword, did I mention my three-year-old reads and my two-year-old has known all the sounds that all the letter make since he was 19 months old? See, I wrote a lot.:)) Then it would be back to the computer to write some more.
So I wrote a ton! But I wasn't very efficient. By the time the whole book was "finished" (and I really thought it was) it was 210,000 words long. That's about 850 pages. By the time I got done trimming all the excess, it was a sleek 142,000 words.
Did you do the math? Almost 70,000 words.
That's a whole book! A short adult novel or a kind of long YA novel. I wrote a whole book's worth of words I didn't need. Talk about the literary equivalent of running back and forth between my mom and the next animal up ahead. (I felt a little better when Jodi had me put 10,000 back in . . . but that's another story too.)
But I've noticed an interesting trend lately. I'm writing new stuff again while waiting to hear back from editors on Chain, and I thought I had turned into a major slacker!! I used to write 3-5,000 words a day. Really. I was Ms. Prolific!
Now I feel really good if I clear 3,000 and 1,500-2,000 suits me just fine.
And you know what? I go back and read what I've written, and it's good. I don't have to cut, I don't have totally wonky POV, I don't spend paragraph after paragraph saying, "And then he thought . . ." I've got some quality work there.
Not polished. But quality.
I'm getting more efficient.
Have you found this in your writing? Do you get slower but more efficient or do you get faster? Are you the three-year-old at the zoo, or the mom trudging along with the wagon?
Maybe it depends on the book.