Friday, 18 February 2011

Good Writing Day?

By Richard Jay Parker

Done a good day's writing? It's a question I'm asked at the end of most days and the answer is always an emphatic yes/no.

Most writers I know usually feel they've never achieved enough. Even if they could be at their keyboard for 24 hours solid and could remove the need to eat, sleep and pass water they still wouldn't be satisfied with their output. It's sometimes as frustrating as having sex and then having to walk out of the room before you've finished. Not that I've ever done that...

Some writers have a word target for each day but, even if they've surpassed it, find it difficult to turn off the computer and re-engage with real life again. It's a gradual re-engagement as well. Most writers' partners will vouch for that - blank stares and monosyllabic responses over the dinner table because their brain is still in front of the computer.

There are those rare occasions when you actually finish a project and enjoy that brief sensation of closure. But there's always that impulse to edit, adjust, polish or embroider what you've done.

It's a good sign though. We can't shut down from our work as quickly as Windows can because we care about it so much. And, let's face it, we have to before anyone else will.


  1. I would love to set a word count goal and meet it daily, at least for first drafts. I just go. It usually takes me an hour of doing other stuff (such as blogging) to warm up before things happen.

    Much like the situation you've described, I'm writing the story in my head when I'm driving, falling asleep, or whatever other activity I happen to be forced to do.

    I cannot relate to your uncompleted sex analogy, however, having my partner walk out of the room before I am finished is, sadly, familiar.

  2. I think that maybe we writers are perfectionists (& a little bit insecure) so that how ever much we've written and how ever long we've spent polishing it, we feel our worker is never ready for the eyes of the public.
    Sometimes we have to say 'it's good enough' and draw a line.

  3. That our writing never truly leaves us is the best and worst part of writing. I never feel done, which is good, but I never feel accomplished, which is not so good...

    Excellent thought. Good to know we're not

  4. Thanks for making me laugh out loud, Charlie. I hope your last comment was only based on true events.

    Think you're right, Sally. You have to wave your work off at the gates at some point...even if you don't feel it's ready to go blinking into the big, bad world.

    Thanks, Beth. I think you should worry if you felt any other way.

  5. I'm currently working on my second book (Although the first is unpublished as of now). The first draft of my first book took forever to write because I was working full-time, writing when I could, and living in the southern U.S. with a faulty air conditioning (hot weather slows my creative cells). I pushed, though, and got it done. The book I'm writing now is going much faster and some of that is due to now being unemployed. It's difficult, I have a very narrow budget, and worry sometimes eats at me, but my writing is getting a lot of attention and I love that. I started out telling myself I would do 1000 words a day, but sometimes things interfered. I currently have a goal of 5000 words a week to give me some leeway and I usually exceed it. I'm grouchy though if I get interrupted and it seems I'm always thinking about the story and characters I have yet to verbally paint clamour for attention. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way.
    Cassandra Connolly-Brown (Rose Connelly is my pseudonym)
    I'm at

  6. Thanks, Cassandra. You sound very commmitted. It's the only way to succeed. Will check out your website. Good luck.