The Pros and Cons of Binge-Writing

For several weeks, I had been suffering from writer’s block. Tooth-grinding, hair-yanking, banging-your-head-against-the-wall writer’s block. Oh, I wrote, but it was like pulling teeth. I decided a few days ago to try writing a second manuscript based on a project I wrote about two years ago. The goal was to get it closer plot-wise to the second incarnation of the story while keeping it structurally closer to the first. I decided the first-person narrative of a mentally disabled murderer wasn’t working for me, maybe I’m not a strong enough writer, or maybe third person is just a better way to tell the story.

 

I wrote just over a hundred pages. In three days. And as awesome as that feels, it’s bothering me that a lot of the scenes came out so roughly and will have to be scrapped later. Now, this certainly isn’t a writing practice for everyone, but I’ve been working on this general story and these characters (although I’m making some major changes to the plot) so I don’t need as quite much note-taking as most writers would when working on a novel. Still, I think I might slow down a little bit next time; I think there might be such a thing as writing a project too fast. I’m normally a pretty fast writer when I’m really on a roll with a project, but even I generally take more time to write than this.

 

So, a question for my readers; what do you think about the practice of writing a rough draft really, really fast as opposed to writing the story out more slowly and thoughtfully, giving yourself time to process ideas? Do you think a binge-written, extremely rough draft has it’s merits or do you think it gets in the way of the final result, which is hopefully a really good, polished manuscript?

Lack of Motivation

I’ve really been suffering from a real lack of motivation with my writing lately. When I’m ‘on’ writing wise I can easily write more than ten pages a day, and more importantly I really get into the stories and the characters; I find myself thinking about them all the time. Lately I’ve found myself thinking about past projects a lot, especially my Dwight manuscript and my Warren manuscript, but my newest characters don’t really capture my interest the way the older ones did. I feel like I’ve kind of been off my game lately with the writing. I’ve been kind of disillusioned with the whole writing process.

I don’t write short stories but I do write little pieces about my characters from different manuscripts. So I can just work on those (I call them vignettes) until something clicks in my brain and I can proceed with a larger project. I could also try forcing myself to write just a little of my current project every day, and not sweat the lack of passion towards the manuscript. Some people seem to think writer’s block is just laziness but I don’t feel that way at all, I think it’s a natural part of the writing process and happens to the best of us at some point. I think you just need to find a way to push through it, which I apparently haven’t seem to have found yet. Do you have any suggestions for any activities/ideas for when you’re suffering from a serious lack of motivation with your writing?