Friday, May 23, 2014

Race Against Time . . .

You know, I almost completely forgot about this! I had intended to include it in the "Doings at Rooglewood" post, but it slipped my mind. And some of you might not have seen this yet, so I definitely want to give you the opportunity.

I did a recorded interview, my very first ever, a few weeks back. You can click here to follow the link. It's about forty minutes long or more, so be sure you have a cup of tea on hand! I hope you'll enjoy it. I haven't had the gumption to listen to it myself--never like the sound of my own voice in recording, plus I'm really afraid I may have said something goofy, but as long as I don't hear myself say it I can pretend it never happened. Let me know if it's not too painful!

I am working on a book. Have been most of this month. And it's just about wringing my neck.

Writing is getting harder for me, not easier. I have written seven complete works in the last four years, which is a lot of material. But each one has been harder than the last (except for Goddess Tithe, which was a sweet little writerly picnic). Even Draven's Light, my 2015 novella, was a monster, and it's only a little over 50,000 words long.

Length has nothing to do with it. Nor complexity, I'm discovering. For the project I am currently writing is no where near as complex as Golden Daughter, but I'm finding it far more difficult to write . . . which isn't to say Golden Daughter was always a walk in the park!

Rohan, being the fount of wisdom he is (there's a lot of brain matter behind that beautiful face), says he thinks the reason each book is getting harder to write is because I am pushing myself more each time. I think there's something to that. I always want my newest project to be that much better than the last. But if the last project was hard, the new one must be harder.

And, if you'll pardon the cliche, I'm definitely struggling to see the forest for the trees. I did the same thing with Draven's Light. Iubdan's beard, did I ever hate that manuscript the whole time I was writing it! I felt as though I  was just "putting words on the screen," not telling a story at all. This current project feels very much the same way . . .

But the other day, after pounding out a few thousand "words on the screen" and fully believing I was producing nothing worth anybody's time, I decided to take a look at Draven's Light. I hadn't looked at it since finishing it, and I wrote that story SO FAST I didn't remember it all that well. So I opened it up and gave it a little browse.

And discovered . . . hey! It's not a complete disaster after all. In fact, it might even be pretty wonderful . . . with a little tweaking . . .

So I am hoping that's what's happening with this current manuscript as well. Hoping there are good bones to be had beneath all this flabby word count. I know the idea is good. It's been a good idea in theory since I was seventeen. It's been a better idea in practice since two months ago. But a good idea and a good manuscript are two very different animals.

Anyway, I'm really writing all of this tell you about the new trick I'm playing on myself these days to get this manuscript done. Or not done but rough drafted.

I've started timing myself. I set my timer for half an hour or 45 minute increments. And then I try to pound out as many words as I can in that time. No worries about quality, just pushing for quantity.

I've discovered that I can write over 1,000 words in a half hour if I'm timing myself. And I've had some pretty good writing days even though the inspiration has been low. This week, I've managed 21,500 words, and I'll probably try to get another few thousand in before the day is done. Probably.

And granted, most of it isn't stunning material. But that's the not the point. The point is to get the draft done. Once it's done, it can be manipulated into something worth reading. But how can you manipulate something that isn't there?

Anyway, I've been a bit quiet on the blogs and facebooks and networks various, and now you know why. I'm sitting at my desk, my timer counting down the minutes and seconds, racing against time to defuse the bomb, er, get that word count in!

It's really kind of exciting . . .

12 comments:

Hannah said...

AWWWWWWWwwww! Poor Anne Elisabeth. I do not believe for a second that you're writing something not worth anybody's time. I'm sure you've just been exhausting yourself. Such a delight to hear that you discovered Draven's Light wasn't as bad as you thought!

Your focus, drive, and determination is jaw-dropping and so inspiring. Though we've been missing you, it's a delight to hear that the writing is coming along! Be sure to give yourself some relaxing breaks.

Hugs!

Anonymous said...

You, Anne Elisabeth Stengl truely have a God given gift. No need to think for a second those stories are not worth any of our times. They're sure to be inspiring and special just like you because God's hand is there, leading. He knows who your stories reach and will reach. All for His purpose.

AIC

Allison Ruvidich said...

I kind of feel in the same boat, except for the, you know, published author bit. I'm on my third book, and the more I write, the more I realize how much I have to learn.

As the others have commented, we all love your books and do our best to support you. : ) Keep writing! : D

Clara Darling said...

You know how wonderful I think you and your writings are. Anything you do is superb! I'm not biased at all...

Becky said...

Everything you've published has been so God inspired. I'm always touched beyond words. I agree with all the others.

A vacation might be a good idea. Hopefully some refreshing summer get-a-ways are drawing near for you and Rohan (aka the Dr.). :o)

Meredith said...

Such a candid and excellent post, Mrs. Anne Elisabeth. I love your trick of timing yourself in order to get some writing done.

I know I echo everyone else, but I certainly believe God has given you an extraordinary talent. Each story you've presented has inspired me beyond words. I have cried, laughed and simply marveled at the complexity of Goldstone Wood and its all-too real characters. You're series and blog have provided me with avenues of exploring my own creativity, (I've never shared so many short stories, poems and, now even an original song), with any other author before. There's just something about Goldstone Wood that helps my inhibitions to fly away. Believe me, no other series has ever done that for me. Most importantly, you've helped me turn to Scripture and appreciate even more God's Holy Word and His work within our lives. When an author does that, I believe that's what matters.

Will stop gushing now. Please, please take some time to relax, and know that we all judge ourselves harsher than others judge us. We're our own worst enemies in all walks of life, including our creativity. God bless you.

Rebecca Fox said...

You have hit on something that I too have been struggling with for well over a year now. Writing is getting harder and harder. The (self-imposed) pressure to produce brilliant writing and to always be getting better can be a crippling burden.

Something that helps me, when I feel the pressures weighing down and the voices of the doubts growing louder, is to remind myself that "My identity is in Christ." In Christ and not in a perfectly crafted sentence. He loves me whether I write the next Great American Novel or a whole lot of stuff that never sees the light of day. We can write with freedom (not necessarily "ease")because our worth and our identities are not determined by the words we write or whether or not we (and others) deem those words to be "worthwhile." Our identities are established in One who is steadfast and everlasting and abounding in love. It's a reminder I personally need every, single moment of every, single day.

Now I think I shall go find myself a timer and give your little trick a try. Anne Elisabeth, thank you so much for sharing. As always your honesty and openness about both the triumphs and the trials are encouraging and humbling.

Becky said...

@Rebecca: Thanks for sharing. This is such a important reminder for all of us.

Allison Ruvidich said...

Oh, I forgot to mention: the podcast sounded wonderful. : D Loved it!

Anonymous said...

Each one of your books has been better than the last and Shadow Hand is my favorite book every and I read alot.
Jemma

Joy said...

You are one of my most favourite modern authors, Anne Elisabeth, and a great encouragement and inspiration to me as a reader, writer and young Christian. I love your books very much, and admire what you write. I am so excited for all your new books and know they'll be amazing. Please keep writing, and write for God's glory. I know He'll help you :).

Just don't wear yourself thin or anything <3 <3 :) God bless!

P.S. I can hardly wait for the release of Golden Daughter and Draven's Light. CAN'T WAIT!

Gracie said...

I love your books and I know exactly how you feel, I sometimes feel that way, but Anything you write will be AWESOME!!!!
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13