A Writer’s Ebbs and Flows

hot waterI think we, as writers, run hot and cold. At least, I do. Gosh, I hope I’m not the only one who isn’t constantly running at highest productivity.

It’s probably healthy to have ebbs and flows, as much as we’d like to always have more flows than ebbs. Some slower productivity time lets us recharge for the big pushes.

It just sucks when the ebbs and flows, or hots and colds, don’t really coincide with the demands of our schedules.

I have an August deadline for a short story. The first draft took less than an afternoon to write. The idea came to me fully formed. I wrote the outline and banged out around 5,500 words in one fast sitting.

Did I mention the thing isn’t due for months?

Yeah, that will give me a ton of time with my critique partner and plenty of time to revise the crap out of it, but the “writing” is done. In record time. (Keep an eye out for a fall release of AIW Press’s time travel anthology, Quantum Wanderlust, including my story, “Vicious Circle.”)

Then there are my novels. I was writing as fast as I could—or I was supposed to be—to complete Body Armor, Medici Protectorate book 3. I set myself a target of 4,000 words/day, and I planned to exceed it as often as possible.

Peanuts' Teacher TalkBut there were days the words just wouldn’t come. I had an outline, so I knew what I had to write. I could see the scene playing out in my mind like a movie. But all I heard in my head was Charlie Brown’s teacher.

I had no words. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I don’t know about you, but I think reading a 100,000-word novel consisting of only, “Wa-wa. Wa-wa-wa-wa,” would get old pretty quickly.

ebb and flowI finally finished it a couple of weeks ago (sans Charlie Brown adult speak), and now I’m working on (and apparently, according to my publisher, am behind on) Medici 4, Tortured Soul.

Where’s FLOW when you need him?

I will soon have Body Armor edits back from the publisher, and we’ll be able to put the book into the queue. They’re looking at an August release date. I’ll also have a cover to share soon.

Tortured Soul is tentatively scheduled for December release. Which means (technically) they should have had my draft last December. They’re working with me on the schedule because (1) I’m grandfathered into their old publishing calendar and (2) they know I write fast. I won’t get this same courtesy again. In the meantime, I’m behind the gun. AGAIN.

Pray for me that Flow comes for a visit and Ebb takes a break. I’d hate to think my one big burst was wasted on my short story.

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. As a writer I have more ebbs than flows, but I expect that based on where I am in my career. Unfortunately, I work full time and write on the side. And for some reason, whenever I sit down to write, I am the most popular person on the planet. I try to ignore as much as possible, but sometimes that just isn’t possible and then I lose the flow. It’s slowly getting better.

    Good luck on your deadline, Staci.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Staci Troilo says:

      Thanks, Michele. 🙂 Good luck to you, too.

      Like

  2. I’ve been in ebb the last few days. I did manage a paragraph on my new project today and a one on my historical last night. Other than that, busyness has kept me from doing anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Staci Troilo says:

      I’ve been busy all week, too. That’s why I’m so late in replying (sorry).

      Think of it this way… those two paragraphs are two more than you had before! You just need to build on them. You can do it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Finished my historical first draft. Got three pages down on my YA. Got grad stuff to do tonight for my son. Thanks, Staci! Hope you get some done too!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Staci Troilo says:

        Congrats on the progress you made, and on your son’s graduation!

        Like

  3. I have an idea for that same anthology, but nothing resembling plot or characters to go with it. According to the comments here my weekly word counts are paltry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Staci Troilo says:

      We have to think positively, Craig (says the girl who proclaims herself a realist while her family says she’s a pessimist). Any words written are more than we had before!

      Good luck with developing the short story. I can’t wait to read it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s starting to take on some bones. More daydreaming ahead.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. tpolen says:

    You have no idea how much better you’ve made me feel, Staci. So happy this happens to other people – not that I’m glad you’re behind!. When my publisher gave me a year to write my second book (and I had 19K words already when I signed the contract), I thought – no prob! And now it’s May. What happened?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Staci Troilo says:

      Well, I’m glad you feel better, but I’m sorry you’re stuck in my boat!

      How many words do you have now, and when is your draft due? Is there anything I can do to help?

      Like

      1. tpolen says:

        I’m ballparking the word count around 55K – and that’s before I’ve gone through and added more description or written an ending. This book is a dual POV, and instead of writing linearly, I’ve written scenes in different files then merged into the final book – strange, and I’ve never done this before. Thanks for the offer, but you have your hands full! It’s amazing how quickly Flow visits when I’m under pressure – thank goodness!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Staci Troilo says:

        Sounds like you’ve got it all under control.

        You know, since I switched to Scrivener, my writing has gotten easier. The learning curve can be a little steep, but once you see how it works, you’ll never want to go back. If you’re going to write in a non-linear manner, you’ll really love it.

        Best wishes! I can’t wait to hear all about the final project.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mae Clair says:

    Staci, I can soooo relate to this. I wanted to bang out 4-5K last Sunday on my WIP, Instead I spent my time tweaking the meager amount of word count I already on paper, and playing with character bios. I did manage to add a paltry 1600 words to the overall story but I was definitely in ebb mode. And I’ve got a deadline. Fingers crossed that both of is rock the flow aspect pretty soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Staci Troilo says:

      Stupid Ebb.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one, but I wish none of us dealt with this. Good luck with your deadline. Here’s to both of us rocking the flow!

      Liked by 1 person

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