The Small, Nagging Voice

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my Kormak novel, Mask of the Necromancer. I did it ahead of schedule, just carried along by the flow of the writing. You’d think I’d be happy, but no, being a writer and a neurotic, I’ve found a way to make myself unhappy about this. Since I believe in spreading the misery, I thought I would share my method with you.

This week I made a commitment to write 3000 words a day, 50% more than I normally would. Mostly this was a result of reading Rachel Aaron’s 10K a day article and recognising the truth of it. One of the big changes I made to my work routine was to set Freedom for one hour instead of 30 minutes, which is normally how long I write for to avoid RSI problems. When I was younger I used to write in one and two hour bursts and I was a lot more productive back then.

Guess what? It turns out I am still more productive writing in longer bursts. It gives me time to settle into my rhythm just like Rachel says. I actually exceeded my target of 3K a day every day this week. So why am I unhappy? I mean I finished the book.

Indeed. But I still have that 3K a day commitment and I don’t know what to write today. Should I start something new or should I get on with revising the Kormak book and prepping Sky Pirates for general release. Common sense says that I should do that. These are projects that will earn me money and I have some non-negotiable deadlines ahead for some of this stuff. I really should just settle down and do it. But…

I made that commitment; 3K a day. It would be cheating if I don’t do it. I know this is stupid but there is this little nagging voice in my head that keeps squeaking away anyway. I suspect a lot of writers are like this. They get ideas fixed in their mind, small neurotic obsessions, that niggle away at them. In the great scheme of things, it matters not a jot what I do today, but it matters to me, now, with that monkey chatter in my backbrain. It’s distracting me and working against productivity.

Intellectually I know there is more to writing than simply producing a quota of words. I know the editing and the rewriting is just as important as the initial draft. The problem is that it does not matter what I know intellectually. The voice is nagging away. It has not even stopped while I am writing this.

I know I should just make a decision and go with it. In ten days, let alone ten years, it won’t matter what I did today as long as I do something constructive. Now if I can only find a way to convince the voice of that.

4 Replies to “The Small, Nagging Voice”

    1. Indeed. That is the truth (about the neuroses). It’s one of the thing’s we’re paid for and one of the more difficult ones. Mmm- there may be a blog post in this. Thanks for the idea, Matt!

    1. Thanks, Scott! Glad you enjoyed the book :). No plans for more right at this moment. Long term I plan to (eventually) cover the human rebellion in the Terrarch world and then go steampunk and zombie as the Industrial/Alchemical revolution hits and the consequences of the undeath plague work out. One useful consequence of some of the characters being so long-lived is that they will get to see a lot of history if they survive. Dunno when I will get round to that though.

      I am currently formatting my anime/John Carter/cyberpunk/Dying Earth influenced fantasy novel Sky Pirates for release and next up will be my first Kormak novel, Mark of the Necromancer. I also have a couple of 40K novels to write so my cup runneth over with work at the moment.

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