The Day From Hades; Also, A New Way To Write

Y’all ever have those days where every single thing you do somehow backfires, and everything you say comes out the wrong way, and you can’t manage to interact with anyone without upsetting / offending / angering them? And you lose your patience about 45 times before lunch, and another 63 times after that?

That was my version of Tuesday, October 25, 2011.

The good news is, the world is ending soon. Right? So I won’t have to suffer for long.

(Hang on, did I miss the world ending? Wasn’t it supposed to be the 21st or something? DARN YOU, DOOMSDAYERS. Something tells me you’ll never get this right.)

One friend of mine suggested that the awful day might be a result of a full moon, when–as we all know–CARRRRAZY things happen. And I was all, “Yeah! I can TOTALLY blame this on the moon!” Except that then I found this:

Yeah.

Full moon conspiracy theories aside, yesterday = NIGHTMARE. For whatever reason. And to be honest? I’m ready to get October over with and move on to November. I’ve always liked November. My mom’s birthday is in November, and also Thanksgiving, which might be my favorite holiday ever. Tons of food and no presents to buy? YES PLEASE.

(Just a small walk down memory lane: Last November, I looked like this…)

(That’s a nine pound baby in there, folks. I was 39 weeks pregnant in this picture.)

(PS: She was 9 lbs. 9 oz. at birth.)

(Nope, no C-section. Don’t pretend you weren’t wondering about that. And I promise I’m going to start talking about something else just as soon as I find my way out of this parenthetical.)

(OH MY GOSH I WILL DIE IN THIS PARENTHETICAL.)

Aaaah! Daylight! Whew.

So anyway, let’s pretend there’s some kind of transition here between large babies and new ways to write. One of my favorite author/bloggers, Rachel Hawkins, has recently changed the way she writes a first draft.

Rachel used to write 5,000 words a day. Then she wouldn’t write at all for a couple days. And then she’d crank out 3,000 more in one day. And so on.

And apparently, this was not good for her mental health.

So now she does things differently: She aims to write between 500 and 1,000 quality words a day. So instead of churning out 5,000 words that are just okay and that will probably be heavily edited and/or replaced, she takes her time and does fewer better words.

I’ll admit, I’ve often fallen victim to the How Many Words Can I Write While Still Functioning Like A Human Being trap many times before. I’ve done a 5,000 word day before. And let me tell you right now: It’s not fun. And most of those words do end up being replaced, or at the very least, changed a whole bunch.

Today I wrote around 600 words on PULL 2. And I took my time. I really considered what I wanted to write before I wrote it.

And you know what? It worked for me. I’m not exhausted and I don’t hate my life. And I’ve got a few hundred quality words that I’ll be able to work with.

I told Rachel that I was trying her “tiny bite” method, and here’s what she said:

So I can only conclude that this path is GOLD, JERRY, GOLD.

(Seinfeld? Anyone?)

What about you? How was your day yesterday? Better than mine? Have you found any new writing tricks that work for you?

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5 thoughts on “The Day From Hades; Also, A New Way To Write

  1. Jodi says:

    Yesterday was not my best day ever, but it was a pretty good writing prep day. I’ve got a decent character arc mapped out (still tweaking it). But things are looking better for NaNoWriMo. Although just writing that made me a little nauseated.

    • Anne Riley says:

      Good for you! I’ve decided not to officially participate in NaNo. I’d like to, but the thought of trying to write 50K words in one month kind of conflicts with my new Tiny Bites writing process. I will be cheering you on, though! Good luck!

  2. Alexandra Shostak says:

    It’s so interesting that you’re talking about a tiny bite writing method, because that’s how I’ve been revising. I used to try to get through AS MANY chapters as I could in a day–but the revising wasn’t quality, and often times I had to go back in and revise what I’d already revised (“revise” is starting to sound not like a word…) because I didn’t do it well.

    Lately, I’ve only been doing like half a chapter at a time, maybe in the morning and then again at night, or taking my time thinking about how I want to totally re-write a scene. I’ve also been printing things out. Having to cross out and write by hand makes me go slower and think harder about what I’m doing.

    I’m HOPING that even though draft 2 of this manuscript is taking me longer than draft 2’s usually do, it’ll be comparable in quality to draft 4 or 5 of my other manuscripts. 😉

    • Anne Riley says:

      I really think there’s something to that. I’m the same way–I’ve always tried to go for quantity rather than quality, but I do end up taking more passes through things. It’ll be interesting to see how many rounds of revisions you can cut out by taking more time with each one!

  3. ansley says:

    Can I just say that I admire all you people who take the time and effort to write great books for me to devour are AMAZING?! After spending a year overseas where it was very difficult to get English books (without going all the way into the city and then carting 25 books back on the subway, ick), I am LOVING reading again and visiting my local library. I read like a fiend and y’all keep me happy. So, kudos and props to all you writers out there….keep it coming!

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