Karen Rivers

the pace of things.

Karen Rivers

I have a problem with pacing.   It's true.   I have had this problem for my entire life.   As it applies to writing.   But also, as it applies to exercise.   As it applies to diet.   As it applies to blogging.   As it applies to Christmas shopping.  As it applies to everything.   

Here's how it works:   If I have a good writing day and I get, say 5000 words written, words that I like and I'm happy with, I immediately assume (all evidence to the contrary), that I'll be able to do 5000 words tomorrow.  And the next day.   And the next day.   Every day!   Forever!   My brain immediately fills in with a kind of spreadsheet that shows definitively how I can write not only ONE book by the end of the month/week/season/year, but actually TWO or why not three?  

This is a problem.

One good day does not NECESSARILY equal subsequent good days.  

Things happen.    

For example, you may have surgery.   After that surgery, you may develop a cough so profound that you have to waste days being x-rayed and CAT-scanned and blood-tested and doctored.    Words won't get written.    Suddenly, this idea of finishing, one, two THREE ONGOING PROJECTS is not only unlikely, it's impossible.    Your spreadsheet changes.  

At this pace, you can expect to be finished your three projects by December 2019.   

Everything becomes futile.   There is nay hope.

Then, just when you think it's impossible, in a burst of creative speed and energy, a book is finished.  You lie in bed, half-dreaming endings, adding characters, resolving plots.   

The spreadsheet repopulates with overly optimistic numbers, numbers that set you up to feel like you are always behind, always late.





I wish for the luxury of time, but when I look at what fills my time, I can't resent it.   I have to go with it, the stop-start of writing balanced by real life.   Books balanced by teddy bear picnics, ballet recitals, and art classes.   Outlines balanced by bedtime rituals.

But still, I always imagine that other writers do this better:  parse out their time perfectly, meet a daily goal, checking things off with a predictable regularity and not in impassioned fits and starts.  

Is this true?   Do YOU?