Who I am, and why I write

Welcome! My name is Erin Manning, and I write clean Young Adult fiction for ages 12 and up. I'm an avid reader and I've been...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Overcoming writing fatigue

I got off to a better start tonight, and am hopeful that with just a bit more effort I can be where I need to be before the end of the week. Camp NaNoWriMo is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure!

But then, neither is writing.

That's why I want to address something I've found fairly common among my fellow writers: let's call it writing fatigue.

Everybody knows what writer's block is (though some writers say it doesn't exist. I say they just haven't experienced it). When you are hit by writer's block, none of your ideas seem to pan out, the story evaporates, or you just can't seem to get the basic plot elements to line up. Every time you sit down to write, little or nothing happens, and if it's writer's block it will effect nearly any kind of writing you do.

Writing fatigue is different. It's something writers will usually experience somewhere in the middle of a writing project. In my experience, the first quarter-to-third of a book goes along all right, and then: trouble.


And now--it's Friday! I didn't mean to stop in the middle of writing this post, but I ran out of time to finish it. The writing struggle is real.

Writing fatigue, or mid-book syndrome, or whatever you call it, has got me in its grips. The trouble is that you have all these plot elements you need to line up so you can get past the middle of the book and start knocking down all your carefully-set dominoes. But getting there can be so hard. It's like trying to run through wet sand, at times. You constantly have to stop writing to assess where you are and where you're going. It's at this point that most writers just want to throw their hands in the air and give up. I bet more writers give up a novel in the middle than at any other writing point.

More next week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

I'm behind!

I'm being a bad blogger during Camp NaNoWriMo! In my defense, I'm behind in my wordcount and have been struggling these past two days to catch up.

Hope to have better things to write about soon!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Trying to get ahead

I really don't plan to make this "every other day" posting a thing (though I usually don't post on Fridays anyway so there probably won't be a post tomorrow). I'm just making the usual push to get through the first week of a NaNoWriMo event, and so much about the first week is important.

As I said already, I'm going for 85,000 words. This works out to just over 3,000 words per day, but I like to get ahead in the first week if I can. That "cushion" comes in handy when you hit the dreaded middle section, the place where you're fighting to set everything up so you can start knocking it all down again.

Like most people, I only have so much time to write each day. I do my best work from about 11 p.m. to about 3 a.m. Those four hours need to be productive, because when I get to the weekends I have other things to do, including Mass on Sunday mornings which is usually pretty early for us. Then, too, each NaNoWriMo month has something of a holiday sort: Easter is nearly always in April, Independence Day is July 4th, and Thanksgiving falls in November. So I have to budget extra time to cover those days when time spent with family and community takes priority over writing time.

All of this means that by the end of the day tomorrow, I really need to be at around 18,000 words. Right now, I'm at 12,620. I should be able to do it! But it would be really nice to get ahead to 20,000 if I can.

I'll let you know how it's going on Monday!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Camp NaNoWriMo is underway!

I missed my opportunity to blog yesterday because I was busy getting off to a good start with Camp NaNoWriMo. If you're a writer, you know the struggle--when it's time to prioritize your fiction writing, you just have to do it!

I usually aim for a daily word goal of about 3,000 words per day. Not all of my books reach 90,000 words; in fact, I've set this current project at 85,000 because I've only exceeded that on a couple of my Ordinary Sam books so far. But in addition to the general goal of 3,000 words per day, I spend a lot of time the first week trying to get as far ahead of that goal as possible, because I know from years of experience that I do the majority of my writing during the week, and am unable to do as much on weekends when family and church obligations take precedence.

Unfortunately, yesterday was a slow start for me at first, and I ended up staying awake into the early morning hours trying to catch up. As I write this, I'm at 5529 words, but I hope to pull ahead before midnight tonight.

Every writer works differently, and the key to writing any kind of book is to know your own pace and limits. Having said that, though, I always want to encourage new writers not to give up on things like National Novel Writing Month without giving them a good try first. Some writers will never find a daily word count goal workable, but it's really helpful for many others to know how much we can reasonably do in a day, a week, or a month. Whether you write a steady amount every day including weekends, or whether your weekdays are impossible and you put in two long writing days every weekend, you will soon learn what it takes for you to achieve a specific goal in a thirty-day time period.

Good luck to all the new writers out there!