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A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods.
Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine
to shape the course of elven and human history within.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

An Experiment in Time

How much time does it take to write what you want to write? Too much? Too little? Just the right amount? Silly question, I know, because most writers will say whatever it is they're writing seems to take (a) forever, or (b) where the heck did that come from? But as the old saying goes, time is relative, and its use and manner can be fickle.

It would seem we want our writing to appear as magically and quickly as we can think it in our minds. Unfortunately, direct neural input to the page (or computer) isn't available... yet. So we're faced with the options of doing it the old-fashioned way or not at all. Pick one; there isn't anything in between.

In the last couple of years I've started editing work for other writers on a serious basis. I've worked with nearly two dozen authors and edited more than 700,000 words in multiple genres. Among the things I've learned from these experiences is, if a writer is serious about the work, any time invested in the work is the right amount. 

I've written five novels averaging 200,000 words and two compendiums of about 50,000 words each in the last 11-plus years. I've worked with writers who have spent nearly that much time on a single novel or story. Why? Because priorities sometimes must be adjusted and the work gets shuffled to the back. We all have "interesting" times in our lives, when circumstances arise and we're taken out of our comfort zones. All we can do during those times of "high anxiety" is deal with them the best we can, using whatever amount of our time, energy, and effort is necessary. 

Sometimes, to get away from those situations, if even for a few minutes or hours, many of us seek those comfort zones again, or simply retreat from the world through TV, movies, surfing the web, reading, or other more passive activity. Others look for creative ways to use the energy, and in my opinion, this helps more than anything. 

If you are a writer seeking solace from difficult times (outside of the dreaded writer's block) and needing a bit of escape, may I suggest using some of that energy by putting it into your story. Write a story, or a scene, or even a paragraph, focusing that angst into something positive and creative. Use that anger or frustration and bend it to your will. "Cast out fear", as the Vulcans say. Move forward, even if what you want to do is run and hide. Taking that fear and molding it to something good and positive can only help you through whatever deep concerns you are dealing with. 

Spending time wisely is an old adage; wasting time is another. What is important to one person may not be so to another, and in the case of writers, I've found many times the work itself, that is the story, can be a distraction or a blessing. Which is yours?

 

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