I used to think that I thrived on stress and deadlines and things of that nature. Now, though, I know differently. Yes, when pressed, I cranked out over 1100 words last evening while doing a 30-minute word sprint. Were they good words? Eh, they were so-so. It did turn out to be an important scene so I suppose they saved themselves from being deleted that way. But I realise now that stress and deadlines are merely games I play with myself in order to keep motivated.
The fact is that my word count is behind and if I’m gonna reach that 50,000-word goal in nine day’s time, I’m going to have to crank out over 2,000 words a day. In the beginning, when the story was fresh and I was excited about it, that was easy. I was doing at least that. Now, though… I don’t know. Either the story really isn’t that good or I’m really not that good. The words and ideas aren’t flowing like they were just a week ago. Things are stagnant in my brain and I’m having a hell of a time trying to shake things up again.
Hence the games with deadlines and word goals. I find I produce much better if I’m racing against a clock or someone else. I find I not only meet but far exceed my goals when there’s a metaphorical gun to my head. The quality is dubious, however. Hell, the quality of everything I’m writing lately has been dubious.
I hope that all writers go through this phase in their careers. The phase where they think everything they write is utter crap and there’s no hope for their work ever seeing the light of day. The “Why the hell am I doing this?” phase. The “God, I’m such a hack!” phase. I seem to be firmly mired in that phase right now, bogged down by self-doubt. And yet, I’m cranking out the words and the scenes, moving the story forward. Maybe when the story’s done and I have a chance to get out of my head for a few days before reading over what I’ve written, I’ll feel differently. But for now…ick.