Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

unproductive weekend

This weekend wasn’t very productive for me. I had tons of stupid stuff to do – laundry, bills, cleaning, groceries, shopping, etc etc etc and I spent the whole weekend getting caught up on errands. I never got in the mindset to do any writing all weekend, except for a few occasional scraps. I do my best writing when my apartment’s clean, no pending errands are nagging me, and everything is in a state of calm. I don’t write as well when my todo list is full and I feel like I shouldn’t be on the computer. And I don’t get much done when other tasks run into my scheduled writing time.

All of this is sort of a precursor for the big discussion about writer’s block. I don’t know how much I can just jump into this, since every writer and aspiring writer has their own opinion on it. My basic theory is that I tend to freeze up when I don’t have enough structure and I have too much writing ahead of me. When I was blocked on Summer Rain last year, it was usually when I didn’t have a good outline of the chapters I was trying to start. I’d have lots of ideas and thoughts about what needed to be included, but I didn’t know how it would happen, so I couldn’t write. I’ve known writers who don’t have this problem, and a few who don’t even use outlines. But for me, planning is the key. That’s why Rumored to Exist has been such a hard book to write. Because it’s non-linear, it basically has no outline, and I write the ideas that come to me each day, or things I have in notes. I have some pacing, an idea of how much to write each day. But it has been hard to keep up. I used to write more words per day, but a lot of the writing was shit and required major revisions or simply got junked. I guess I’ve been going slower to prevent that.

I was looking through my current paper journal – I use those 120 page, 3-subject spiral notebooks. It’s interesting, because I’m in the final stretch of this one, but I started it at the end of July. I went to the front of the notebook and read some of the entries last night. So much has happened in the last six months, with my relationship with Marie, the summer of extreme heat, getting rid of the Escort. It’s weird that those entries and my current ones are still in the same book. I guess I need to start writing faster. Historically, I go through two of the 120 page notebooks a year, but the last few times, It’s taken me about 7 months to fill one of them up. I think my pace has quickened in the last couple of months, though. I should probably mention that what goes on in my paper journals never crosses over to here. I know some people form their electronic pages by forming a “best of” from their paper stuff, but I’ve found it easier to avoid that.

Still listening to Snap Judgment. I think I’m going to go buy some books online.