Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Binge Writing

I’m hungover this morning.

I didn’t get my tender head from too many processed grilled meats or Mexican beers. My hangover came from a holiday writing binge.

Readers of this blog know that I’m a plodder when it comes to writing. Three to five carefully written pages a day is my usual m.o. I believe regular, sustained writing is the best way for me to get where I want to go.

Plodding is a habit that fits my busy lifestyle, one that only has a slice of time in the day for writing. But yesterday’s gift of a day free of work obligations, household chores, etc., called to me. Instead of binging on brownies, I binged on writing.

I feel vaguely sick today. This morning, my brain was fogged, and I had trouble stringing two words together. I do feel triumphant, like I really accomplished a massive leap forward in my w.i.p. But I’m a little scared to look at what I’ve written yesterday—I’ll save it for the re-write heading my way. Was it worth it? I don’t know. All I know is I had trouble focusing today. I’m like a dry orange, juiced to the max.

I know of other writers who swear by binge writing. Allison Brennan is one, and it obviously hasn’t hurt her career. My esteemed c.p.’s also binge write on occasion, and I feel envious when they post their tallies: “cranked out 15 pages today, my goal is 20 tomorrow.” Makes my 3-5 look like small potatoes. But when they’re looking to the stars for inspiration, the Turtle quietly pecks away. Except for yesterday, when the Turtle put on rollerblades.

Do you binge write? Does it work for you? Or are you a plodder? Which do you think works best? Or can a writer do both. SHOULD a writer do both?

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.


Blogger Allison Brennan said...

"I’m like a dry orange, juiced to the max."

GREAT expression!

Binge writing often leaves you with something like a painless hangover. You feel drained, but elated; exhausted, but in a good way, like after a great adrenline rush.

Don't worry if you have a lot of crap on the page. I often have typos galore (usually missing words, dropped "-ed" and "ing" on words, etc) That's all stuff that's easily caught in the first pass.

Congratulations! And may you have many more binges in the future :)

4:26 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Bolton said...

Thanks, Allison! The encouragement helps. I AM a little worried about what I wrote--I'm pressing on and trying not to tinker, my biggest fault. Hopefully after some space it won't seem so crummy. :-)

6:15 AM  
Blogger LE said...

I never thought about it before, but I'm a binge writer. 5 pages is about normal, and 7-8 pages is a REALLY good day. I just don't have the energy for 10+ pages a day. I think I'd get burned out too quickly.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Jeri said...

My binge writing usually comes when my husband goes away overnight. Something about not having to make dinner (or conversation) at the end of the day makes the orange juice flow. That and being able to go to bed with my laptop.

Congrats on the binge!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Therese Walsh said...

Binge writing definitely helps me get through a hump sometimes, though I think your slow-and-steady approach is probably the best in the long run!

9:49 AM  

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