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Friday, January 11, 2008

Wasted Days and Wasted Writes...

(everyone's singing, right?)

Today is a wasted day. I originally set up today as a daycare day so I could go to critique group. Fifty bucks later, my critique group has disbanded due to our fearless leader getting a job. Leaving me with a whole day and no kid. I know, some of you are saying, "and that's a problem, because?" Because I PAID fifty bucks for daycare. So then, it turns out someone scheduled an appointment at work for me during my off time. I thought, well, I'll just go in to work early today and work the whole day. Um, no. Because last night, when I went to work, these clients came in and had their taxes done by someone else. Which means there is absolutely NO REASON for me to go in to work early today.

So, having paid an extra fifty bucks for absolutely no reason except I thought I might have something going on today and the daycare requires you pay them a month in advance, I thought long and hard about what I'd do with my day.

And because I'm working at being a "professional" writer and achieving my writing goals this year, I stuck to my normal MWF Panera mornings. Yes, yes I did. So I went to Panera and worked a little bit longer than usual.

Which leads to my Wasted Writes. I wrote 30 pages. Ten are complete garbage, and I think five, maybe ten, will never see the light of day. So I have ten USEFUL pages. I'm trying to rewrite chapter one, because I was told that readers weren't engaged until about page 15. That'd be a problem. Today, I wrote ten pages and realized they were boring, too. I wrote another ten. Eh, so-so. Then finally, I got the golden ten I think might actually work. At least until someone else reads them and deems them only slightly less boring than what I originally had.

So why am I telling you about my Wasted Day and and Wasted Write? Other than the fact that I really am bitter about spending so much money on nothing. The thing is, even though I am griping about it being wasted, it wasn't really wasted. I have a tendency, and I think a lot of US society has the same tendency, to value things based on productivity. Why should I be mad at *gasp* having a day all to myself without having a specific plan? Maybe I do only have ten pages, but I also know a lot of writers who'd kill to have ten good pages with only a morning of writing. As far as the twenty I'll probably throw away (I think I deleted five or ten already), I don't think any page you write about your story is truly wasted. In those deleted scenes, you learn a lot about your characters, their motivations, and how they're feeling.

So even if you're like me, feeling like you've wasted a day, wasted precious pages on a MS you're desperate to get out, take a deeper look, because there's something valuable you gained from it, even if it takes a little hunting.


Keri Wyatt Kent said...

As a mutual friend of ours likes to say, time spent sharpening the tool is never wasted.
even pages you throw away are like miles you've run--you got a chance for a literary workout.
and you spent a day being a WRITER. We moms often think of mothering as our only identity. it's an important job, but not the sum of who we are.
Moms who write (like you, and like me) need to sometimes declare that we are also writers who just so happen to also be moms.

Anonymous said...

Now you know that's not true.
Even if you delete every word, it's not wasted.
You're developing the story, the voice, the character, all sorts of things.
Spending time writing is never a waste.

Kay Day said...

You are so right in your final assessment, there.
But if that happens again - call me!! I am home wasting days, too! We could meet and waste it together!

Jan Parrish said...

:)Sounds like you did exactly what you were supposed to do.

I tagged you on my blog if you'd like to play.

Danica Favorite said...

Absolutely... time spent writing is good time. But sometimes it takes a little mental check-up to remember.

Kay, I didn't even think about it. But that's okay, I did get a lot done.

All right, Jan. :)