Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hart Johnson: The Energy Involved

You know, I'm no physicist, but I'm pretty sure energy units are SUPPOSED TO be equivalent across the board. But I'm here to tell you BALDERDASH!

I just finished the LAST first draft in a huge serial project that has taken me two years to finish (26 months by the time the last couple are polished and out there). It has been a major marathon requiring carb loading, constant effort and not a few tears. But I did it. Twelve books, serially released, 100 pages at a time—that is 350,000 words—5 normal books. I just kept swimming and survived.

But if I think about the energy required for ONE query letter? There aren't enough carbs in the WORLD to prepare me for that! It's like you need rocket fuel for that one.

Editing? That is more like a really long boring walk than a run... Not as much effort, but MAN it seems to take a lot of time to go the distance, and it is really hard to keep the focus.

The REAL Challenge, Though?

Changing gears. When your brain is in shape to do one of them, the others just really seem like a lot of effort. And after that MARATHON, what you REALLY want to do is just rest for a while. (don't do this—it's a bad idea—getting going after a break, in whatever form of GO you want to be going, is MUCH harder than changing to a new speed).

I almost think we need to come up with writing energy units.

Last weekend I wrote the most words I've ever written in one day: 7,600. That's a lot of words. Thirty pages of words. But it was probably four hours of writing. I had ALL DAY and that was all I could produce. Between sprints I had to rest, do something different, regroup. I mean I HEAR of people who have managed ten or even twenty thousand words in one day, but I just don't think an ordinary brain can DO that.
People suggest to me all the time that I should get dictation software. You know what? My typing speed isn't my limitation. Sixty words a minute for an hour is 3,600 words. My maximum sprint is probably 2,300. MAKING STUFF UP IS HARD WORK.

But MAN it's a good workout. Is there anything more satisfying than that BRILLIANT scene you've been building too all book? Certainly not much. A rush of writing that drains you? A joyous thing even if you end up sobbing.

So what writing tasks suck the life out of you? Which ones build strength? Endurance?

My dream is to get to a place where an agent thinks about selling it, a publisher thinks about promoting it and I can just alternate the writing and the editing. Those of you more into cross-training, more power to you.
Hart Johnson is the author of The Garden Society Mysteries under the pen name Alyse Carlson and is currently serially publishing A Shot in the Light, the first set of which is a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (and available for 99 cents until she is kicked out of the contest, at which point it will return to $2.99: feasibly this is June 13--the first quarter of it is actually free today). She also blogs as the Watery Tart, because she needs still more names to keep track of.

1 comment:

Mason Canyon said...

Hart, that is a lot of energy to do all that you've done. I can't image trying to do that. Wishing you much success.

Thoughts in Progress