Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keepin' the pace up

There's something very similar to running a marathon in writing a novel.  I can honestly say I've done one of them once, and now that I'm drawing kinda near to saying I've done both once, the similarity seems obvious.  Both boil down to endurance.

Tonight marks the end of the third or fourth weekend I've devoted nearly strictly to writing.  True, I've walked the dog, and gotten a few chores done, and I went in to work today, and even ended up doing some (gasp) work, but it still seems at times as though I'll be writing till...well, till I'm not anymore.  A novel is a long damn project. 

A marathon is a long damn run, similarly.  What it lacks in actual length (I wish I could finish a novel in 4 hours) it makes up for in grueling, overwhelming, world-shattering, mind-blasting pain.  People who think that "The Wall" means you get really tired just don't have any idea.  The human body isn't built to run 26 miles in one stretch.  It can't physically store enough fuel for that long of a run.  "The Wall" is your body's way of telling you that.  It's not your body saying "I'm tired, can we sit down now?"  Instead, it's your body saying "OK, dumbass, I'm out of fuel, so you better for the love of God stop running NOW or I'll cramp every muscle in your body.  OK, there went the hamstring.  And now, the opposite thigh.  Got the pic now, sweet cheeks?  Stop running NOW!  Now!  Now!  NOW!"

Writing a novel, on the other hand, isn't nearly as painful.  If your fingies get tired, you can just stop typing for a few minutes.  But it's much, much longer, and so you get this feeling that as you sit and type, the world is passing you by outside. 

Granted, all that is probably because I write so dang much.  Most of the authors who've spoken of reasonable pace say 2000-2500 words a day is good.  I just finished a 12000 word weekend, for the sake of comparison.  It's fun, still, at this point, but I have to be careful not to do it much longer.  I think, once this book is done and in the cooling-down stage before editing, I'm going to write a short story that occurred to me recently.  That should be fun, too, and more like the 10K's I used to run that, once I got in marathon shape, seemed almost laughably easy. 

Till then, though, I continue my inexorable march toward the finish line.  I reached a hugely major milestone yesterday, finishing a NaNoWriMo project, but I still have about 25K words to go at this point, and a lot of story still to write.  I'm taking part of next weekend off, bringing my lovely wife home, so that'll help me make sure to balance. 

Till then, though...woo hoo!  12K words in 2 days! 

Word count: 54,963

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