And there are days where there isn’t even a trickle. I’ve found sometimes it can feel effortless to do my best work, a thousand words just dropping onto the page, eloquent, beautiful and in no need of alteration. More often I’ll find upon revision that the choice of words might have been a little clunky and some refinement is called for (I wasn’t quite as good as I thought I was). Most of the time it’s an effort to get the words down but still satisfying, and I know that there might be some changes made down the line but a good fifty percent is probably going to stay.
And then there are those days like last night. Five hundred words squeezed from a reluctant stone over the course of two hours. Two hours? At my best, I can write a thousand words in just under an hour. Yet there I was, twice as long to write half as much. Maybe I can make up the deficit tonight but starting the day in debt isn’t a pleasant thought at all. And, if I’m really honest, it wasn’t even a great five hundred words.
As I sit looking back at my scenes in Scrivener, all those successful ‘third draft’ stamps I have littered on three-quarters of the story, and I now have this ugly, battered scene whose only correct label could be ‘approach with caution‘.
But there has to be something good to glean out of this though, right? Most definitely, I check my total word count, a paltry five hundred words closer to my target. I check my scenes, this one still needs work, but the actual amount that needs to be written has still gotten smaller, just three more to be written and two that need plot revisions, so we’re getting there! And finally, while I know that the words need revising, I also know that at least the plot is there. What has to happen is on the page happening. It ain’t pretty but it will do until I pass back over it. And when I do, that hard work of lifting the block into place is already done. Next time around I get to sculpt a little, add some detail, smooth some edges, maybe add a little texture. But the block is there, ready for me, waiting. I’m a little closer than if I hadn’t.