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18 April 2008 @ 06:21 pm
pattern recognition  

Those of you who’ve been reading along for a while may have deduced a certain … unreasonably high level of expectation placed on me by my own self. There’s a Longfellow quote which summarises this nicely: “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”

I am *mired* in this problem right now. My expectation of myself is that really, I can do a 6400 word chapter in a day. I *know* I can. I’ve done it any number of times in the past. I can’t do it for more than about a week, but I don’t *need* to: five days or so at that rate would finish the book. And so dammit, I *know* I can do it, that I *need* to do it…

…and yet *damn* my brain is tired. Even typing up yesterday’s 3K pretty much felt like a day’s work today. And while I recognise this pattern, I can’t stop myself from thinking that, well, okay, *tomorrow* I’m going to be able to pull off my 6400 words, and that’ll just get me on the road I need to be on: one good day can lead to four or five more, and then this last awful push will be over. I *recognise* that I’m apparently more accurately capable of 3K a day right now, but 3K a day doesn’t finish the rough draft until the end of the month, which gets the book in *over* three months late, and I cannot get past the idea that if I would just get my shit together, I could push through these last 25,000 or so words and could take a couple days to unwind, then do revisions and get the damned thing in by the beginning of May.

Not really in need of reassurance or anything here, just getting my frustration down in words, in hopes that it’ll do…*something*…to my brain.

ytd wordcount: 168,000
miles to Minas Tirith: 281.4

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
ex_kaz_maho on April 18th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
I think your brain is trying to encourage you to not kill it too dead... ;)

Maybe you just need to do a couple of more gentle days, then you'll be refreshed for the final push.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on April 18th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
What she said. Maybe your brain is asking you for reflection space before that last section fires up.
mikecosgravemikecosgrave on April 18th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
We judge ourselves againt what we know to be our best and expect we can do it all the time.

I know I can write 13,500 words in a day, because I did that **once** but that was converting good notes into a chapter of my MA (the history of Beamish & Crawford, which was very pleasant work!) Equally, I know I am a pretty good lecturer, because I taught great classes. However, if I do 2 sub-brilliant lectures in a row, then I feel my week is crap, and my next 2 may be crap, and if I don't get back on game, then I can easily see the rest of a term crawl along in a succession of lectures which I feel are pretty turgid - and at that stage it doesn't matter what the students think, because I'm the critic.

After a week like hat, I find a martini in a good cure, although my wife says I make martinis in half-pint glasses!
Kate Kirbykirbyk on April 18th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
I get a slight urge to say, "Hey, take a break now and then."

But I think a greater truth is, "Kit knows what the Kit is doing." and the corollary, "Ted fixes it when she miscalculates too badly."

Still, though, often times when I'm doing brain-difficult things (as opposed to the more common just-get-it-done kind of things), I can do more useful work if I take an hour off and beat up some thugs in City of Heroes or go for a walk or clean my room, than if I tried to slog through it. Writing fiction isn't quite the same as software development, but the pattern of mostly doing stuff I know how to do (and it's just a matter of discipline), with punctuations of how am I gonna get this to work, is very similar.

desperancedesperance on April 18th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Sometimes it's the book's pace, not the writer's: I went straight from 2000+ per day on "Tower of the King's Daughter" to 500 a day on Shelter, because the damn book would not go faster than that.

But mostly, what mikecosgrave said: you take your best and expect not to fall shy of it. A peak is not a target. Be fair to yourself; it's better to exceed your own expectations than to fall short.

Etc. You know all this. Go get yourself some Ted, and stop angsting.
sammywolsammywol on April 19th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC)
The first step towards solving a problem is admitting you have one? *hugs*
kitmizkit on April 19th, 2008 09:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's basically all this is, really.