Eagle over Lake Quinalt I would like to say that my time at the Quinalt Rainforest Writer's Retreat for 2009 resolved some questions for me about my writing habit obsession hobby career whatever one way or another, but unfortunately that didn't happen. What I did learn is that the secret to productivity is to Turn Off The Goddamn Internet And Go Someplace Quiet. I had very slow wifi web-only (no email, no usenet, no last.fm, and no video feeds) access for five hours or so every day when the bar was open, and there was always a writer's alley in the tables along the bay-window walkway that looked out over Lake Quinalt, but the most productive sessions, the ones that produced 1000 words an hour or more, were when I locked myself in my hotel room and just wrote. While in the bar with the other writers, my word count dove to 300 words per hour.
I kinda like the Cult of Done, but I also have to face two uncomfortable facts. First, my ADHD, spurred by my constant need to be in interrupt mode when home with the kids, makes it hard to concentrate on anything for a week, and second, my best stories, the ones that have sold, have all been re-writes. Not "I agonized over this and re-wrote it five times looking for the story before I found it" re-writes, but the "I loved this story the first time I wrote it, and, upon re-writing, discovered a much better story, a story good enough that I convinced myself writing is worth the effort."
Re-writing is so much harder than writing. It involves tracking and retracking, putting the plot up on the board and decididng what to keep and what to throw away, killing moments you cackled over the first time but that don't contribute to the plot, theme, and characters you've come to love. Re-writing has no metric. There's no word-count in a re-write. My re-written stories are always smaller than the originals.
My final word count for the weekend was 12,646 words, scattered through four Journal Entries, some Caprice Starr work, a Yowler short, and so on. My problem remains the same: I need to concentrate on one story long enough to get to done on it. And for that, I need to remind myself of why I love writing in the first place. The love is still there, but the reasons for that love seem to escape me these days.