Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBT+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Why I’m Not A Prolific Writer (As I Sort-Of Want To Be)

There are several reasons why I’m not prolific. I’d like to be, but not strongly enough to work at it like other writers I know. I’m just not that driven.

The fact is, with me, my inherent personality leans toward laziness. This Nano, I’ve frequently not gotten started on the scene I needed for the day until long after nightfall. And that’s after managing to get the plot card necessary for maintaining my outline before sunset. If you look at my stats for my current Nano novel, you’ll see I’ve been stalled at just over 48k for the past few days—and that was in part to laziness. The rest was in part due to overthinking the opening of the next scene and the fact I hadn’t slept well enough or been alert enough to feel capable of writing—a bit of a writing downswing, which I think is over, thank goodness; it started to clear last night just before I went to bed and I woke up feeling more confident in my ability to write than I’ve felt the past few days.

I also take it rather easy with regards to my writing. I’m still healing from killing my creativity with the genre I wrote before, so if I don’t feel like writing one or two or more days, I don’t. It drives me batty not to write, but if the ideas aren’t flowing, I can’t make them go. While it’s true inspiration strikes most predictably and strongly when one is already working creatively, every writer is different, and these days when I don’t write—when I completely lack ideas or a way to figure out how to handle something—are my creative mind’s way of saying “slow down, take it easy, stop dwelling on the issue. It’ll come in time. Rest a bit while it surfaces.”

Yes, I know the rule is “write every day.” And that, since I can, I “should” follow that rule. I did when I was younger and had a full-time job. I’d get off work, write for a couple hours, then go to bed. It seems like it should naturally follow that now I’ve got all this free time, I shouldn’t have any problem at all meeting the “write daily” goal. My mind simply doesn’t work that way any more, though. Part of it, I suspect, is my bipolar disorder getting into the way. The rest is simply the fact that I do have all this free time. I know I’ll be able to write when I feel like it—and I feel like it nearly every day these days.

Another part of the reason why I don’t rush things is because I’m trying to make the first draft as strong as it can be. This means I take a little more time to come up with scenes to outline—I won’t write one until I know the point of the scene I’m plotting. I want that point so I can ensure the scene either pushes plot forward, builds characterization, reveals a little more about the world (hopefully in a plot-forward or characterization-forward way), or does any combination of or all those things. I think for as many plot cards I get early in the day, I get even more in the evening because I’ve taken the entire day to develop the point. I don’t even care if the point I “see” when I write out the plot card turns out to be the one which shows up in the scene as I write it. All I require of my scene summaries is that they improve an aspect of plot, characterization, or worldbuilding info for the story in the scene it summarizes.

None of this of course stops me from coming up with lots of new ideas for books. I just won’t get around to writing anytime soon. LOL

1 Comment

  1. Rule? Bah! The only rule you should follow is “Do what works for you as a writer”!

    And there’s a lot to be said for making that first draft as strong as possible. 🙂

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