Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Almost there

I’ll admit it, I’m a little disappointed in myself.

I was hoping to be done by now, but when I finished working on The Weighty Tome yesterday, I was on page 376 of what is now just 400 manuscript pages. So close! But I had put probably close to four hours in over the course of the day (it occurs to me I might want to log my hours on these projects, because why not?), and when last night’s Bruins game was over, I couldn’t go back to it, even though there were still a couple of hours left in the day. I just didn’t have anything left in the tank, and I’ve learned not to force it when that’s the case.

It’s funny how you get to a point in the day when you’re just done, isn’t it? When I’m running hot on writing, I can interrupt myself to go to the bathroom or get something to eat, but rarely does that interruption really break my flow. I can come back a few minutes later and get back into it pretty easily. But when I’m done, I’m done, and walking away for a few hours doesn’t do the trick. There’s just nothing there until the next day.

So, I sit on the cusp of ‘finishing’ this manuscript again (though I know I have to go back to a point somewhere in the middle and add a tiny bit), but am just not quite there. And November is half over which means it’s really WAY to late, because I’m getting to a point where I would have to average over 2500 words a day to ‘win’, and that’s too much. And that’s also okay. As much as it would be nice to join the NaNo masses, everything has its own time and the next project will come about on the schedule it needs.

Disappointed? A little. But I also know enough to listen to myself.

How about you? Can you push through those moments when you’re ‘done’, and how does that work for you?


One note: the Bruins had a good weekend, winning both games after turning in a horrible performance against Vancouver. The fans are very skittish this year, which I think is a product of the team being unexpectedly good last year. Funny how that happens.

Second note: I really screwed myself by posting that “McCafferty’s Bib” song by They Might Be Giants last week. I can’t get it out of my head! I think it’s because I can’t get the melody and lyrics to match up quite right, no matter how many times I listen to it. Help!

Third note: Yesterday was Veterans Day here in the US, so let me take this moment to express my gratitude and appreciation to all our veterans. Thank you for what you do.


7 Responses

  1. Can I push through moments when I'm done? Depends on the project. First drafts… probably. It's gonna be rewritten/revised anyway and I'm just looking to put words on the paper. But editing? Nope. I find I skim over more when I'm tired than I do with a fresh mind. So I don't push it then. It doesn't help me or the project.

    But… When I'm tired of one I can go back and work on the other. Strange how that goes, huh? Using different parts of the brain, I guess.

  2. I do get like that with writing. I feel I get my point down on paper, and when I get to a bridge that needs building, I have to step away and think carefully about how to build it to get to the next point. I can't force it. The story suffers for it. Editing on the other hand, I can plow through that…good luck reaching the end of your piece.

  3. Well, you're nearly done, so I would call it a win even if you don't hit the NaNo goal! I know I can't write when I get to a certain point in the evening – I'm just not in the right headspace so I don't even go there. I think we all have rhythms that work for us.

  4. I am fortunate to be able to write pretty much whenever I want/have the time. When I start seems to be less important, but I definitely seem to only have so many words per day.

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