Binge Writing and the Creativity Tank

Have you ever read a book, including even award-winners, in which you find yourself lost in little dull digressions without tension? You ask yourself, “What happened? Why aren’t all the paragraphs and sentences great in this novel?”

Why do many novels have great parts and not-so-great parts?

Part of if may be author evolution. Of course. But after mulling over this question for many centuries (yes, didn’t you know Captain Shelby is rumored to be immortal?), I think I may have found the answer. But it isn’t what you thought, my fellow writers, and you’re not going to like it. Well, here goes.

You have to give up the myth of ever so sacred “daily writing.” That’s right, just let it go. It’s hard, I know. I hung on to this myth for a long time, and as an author who still has to turn to other means of income, hanging on to that myth can be painful. You now what I’m talking about, my writer friends. Yes, you do.

I grew almost ill hearing about all those great authors of yore, or of present say, “I WRITE 1000 WORDS A DAY.” Yes, they say it like some kind of mystical mantra, as if saying it over and over will somehow make it true. But what of the  most beautifuly yet deadly fallacies of humanity is that tradition begets truth.

Try letting it go.

Here’s why.

The reason for those not-so-great patches in your work is because your “creativity tank” is low but you’re pressing on stubbornly anyway like a runaway bus on flat tires. That’s right, let it go. Start paying attention to your creativity tank. Right now, mine is at 64%. This is an approximation, of course, but your creative soul will give you a number. Just try it. I could work on the prequel to Pelican Bay, around 60,000 words now, but I choose instead to let my tank fill up for a promising weekend of binge writing; after a good night’s sleep, I’ll wake tomorrow at over 70% and, God-willing, sail out some decent sentences and paragraphs. So I write this blog now instead, then off to a Holiday Party.

So why not give binge writing a try? What’s the worst that can happen? After all, I suspect many of you are probably binge writers already and don’t even realize it. Perhaps you’re busy with kids, promotion, life, etc. What are you afraid of? Do you think you’ll walk on the graves of all those daily writers, slap their contemporary followers in their faces? You know what makes me more afraid? Books with patches in them. Writer burnout. And, worst of all, dare I even say the horrible words (let me knock on the wood of this McDonald’s table), writer’s block.

Hey, you binge TV watch. You do your errands in binges. You love in binges because it’s all about quality time, in the end, isn’t it? And that’s what writing’s about.

Quality books.

Whether you binge write or daily write, write well my literati. Write well. And please feel free to comment on these thoughts.

 

Yours in literature,

J.G.C. 

 

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