After the Great Writing Race of 2010, I felt rather disappointed in my performance. Yes, sometimes life gets in the way, and a great many of the obstacles that presented themselves during the contest (husband’s lack of job, my overworking my own job) have resolved themselves at last! Hip, Hip, Hooray!
But still…one of the things that came up during said Writing Race was the question of Progress, and how much Progress is truly Progress. During a dinner where most of the competitors were sitting together, plus a few other non-competitors, there was a comment brought up by one of the non-competitors. We were reviewing word counts, and he noted that my word count is rounding out to about 70 pages over the course of two months.
Now, there was nothing negative said in his tone, but the implication was there nonetheless: In a writing competition, you only managed to churn out 1.2 pages a day? That’s slow for regular times.
Obviously I’m being too hard on myself–after all, I have 70 pages that I didn’t have at the start of the summer–but instead of being proud of that, I’m beating myself up for not having done more. This is a horrible feeling, this not having done more. It feels slackerish and loserish. Even though the word on the street is that if you write one page a day, by the end of the year you’ll have a complete novel…we’re all secretly thinking that is a slow pace. That we should be able to Do More! And Progress.
Right now I’m moving along at the pace of 2 pages a day since the contest–and I’m more satisfied at that pace. I’m shooting to work up to four by the end of the year, in spite of school and all the other stuff coming my way at the end of this month, because I want to have more pages–I feel like a greedy Scrooge McDuck: More pages! More! Mwhahahahaha! I just want them.
What makes you think, at the end of the day, that you have done a good writing job?
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.