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The balancing act

I have this balancing act. In any day, I get a limited number of hours of writing time. My primary focus is fiction, but I also like to post here on this blog, or on Write Up Our Alley. The time spent writing a post is often within the same hours when I could be writing fiction. So it feels like I’m giving one up for the other.

But it’s not so clear.

When writing new fiction, I frequently spend half an hour spinning my wheels before I start producing something meaty. And when I’m finally being productive, I pause regularly to think some more. Now I don’t leave my work. Pen in hand, I stare at walls or out the window, or listen to music on my iPod. I think in an unfocused way until I’m clear about what to write next.

Which means two things when it comes to new fiction. (1) I’m slow and can be distracted—particularly during those pauses.* (2) I need uninterrupted blocks of time, preferably a few hours, in which to be productive.

Writing nonfiction is easier. I’m not inventing. I’m organizing. I take ideas and information that are already there and order them in a way that I think will be interesting and I hope will be entertaining.

So I tend to write for this blog when my writing time is broken up or subject to interruption. At least, that’s when I try to. But, as I said, I am distractable. And sometimes, when I do have a block of time, my thinking time is spent focused on something that, you know, would be perfect for a blog piece. . . But I try not to let that happen too often.


* Revisions are another matter. I’m much faster and less distracted with those. Writing a first draft is ten times harder for me than reworking a story in which I’ve gotten the plot and characters down. Unless of course the revision requires writing a whole new plot segment. . .

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