When people give writing advice, there is always a bit about sitting down and making yourself write, about setting aside time in your day to write. This is true. Be it ten minutes before the kids get up, ten minutes before you go to bed, or while the laundry is in; you need to give yourself time to write.
Otherwise, you’ll never get that novel done. It will always be something you want to do, like losing those ten pounds from college, seeing the ocean, climbing a mountain, or whatever else you want to do before you kick the bucket.
However, there is the other side of that spectrum – writing so much that your brain fries.
Yeah, yeah, I know – “Who in the world has that much free time?” “I wish I had that much time!” “That person needs a real job.”
I’ve been on the extreme spectrum – I have written so much in a few days that my wrist hurt. My back hurts from sitting in the computer chair. My eyes sting from staring at the screen too long. I forget to eat.
I’ve jumped in headfirst into a draft and then I find it hard to come back up for air. I write so much that I lose my spark of creativity, that I find it hard to put chapters together, to clink words together that are pretty while at the same time make sense and pull the story along. I write myself into exhaustion.
I’d like to think this is the same way it works when a mage exhausts herself; she used so much of her energy, that she needs to kick back, play some Skyrim, drink root beet, and eat Cheerios out of the box.
I fall into creative exhaustion, and at the same time I want the draft I’m working on to be the final draft, the perfect draft – and it’s not. Draft 1 isn’t the final draft. A bestseller isn’t written in a day, or a week, or even a month – it takes time, planning, and a lot of effort and energy.
Pace yourself. Just like you pace the story, pace yourself, too.