I don’t mean going without sleep for 72 hours straight. (Yeah, you only have to go without sleep for 48 hours anyways.)

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However, I want to talk about exercising your creative muscles. I really don’t exercise my physical muscles as much as I should, but people forget that while writing isn’t really physically demanding, you do need to do a lot of work in it, as well.

So, what do I mean by pushing yourself to the limit? A few examples of how I pushed myself in the past will be in order. The first time was when I was still writing the Line of Corruption. This was maybe late 2011, or early 2012. I was writing a massive battle, and it was honestly the first time I’d written something like it. I’d written huge battles before, but it was the first time where the impact of the results affected the main characters so strongly.

In order to keep up the pace and momentum, I wrote it like a reader would read it. Nonstop. I wrote eight thousand words in one sitting. The next day I wrote four thousand words, and on Saturday, I wrote another four thousand words. That was how I ended Part I of Line of Corruption.

I was creatively drained afterwards. Didn’t write a word for maybe a week. But I was done with Part I. It clocked in at around 53k words. Writing eight thousand words is not as difficult as I assumed before I wrote it. It’s really a question of whether or not you want to persevere. See, the reason why we normally don’t write ten thousand words in one sitting is because you will probably hit a creative wall. And there are two things you can do.

1. Call it a day, and see if you can scale the wall tomorrow with the proper equipment.

2. Channel Jackie Chan, and try to jump over the wall and hope for the best.

That’s how I always saw it. And at times, I really wished I took a few karate lessons. Since the grammar mistakes were ridiculously bad, and I immediately removed those mistakes the next day, but the point is that it is possible if you are willing to throw caution to the wind. That’s how I like to write. Make it risky. I like to think it worked, because the fight scenes had an urgency to them. (Because dinner was in thirty minutes, and I had to wrap it up before then.)

So, there’s your first example of when I pushed myself. Second example is when I wrote Radio Silence. I was preparing for NaNoWriMo, and I had a cool idea for a horror story. So, I just wrote the first four thousand words in one sitting. It’s not as impressive, I guess, as the part with Line of Corruption. But I did push myself because I had no idea what I was going to do with the story.

So, what the next hundred words was going to entail was a mystery to me until I was literally a dozen words away from writing it. That’s how I did it. And it worked out. Then, around January, I pushed myself again with an Urban Fantasy story. I wrote five thousand words in one hour. I was chatting with my friend at the time, and every time I wrote a thousand words, I’d send him a message challenging him to beat it.

I liked the story a lot, but I made a lot of mistakes. Mostly with verb tenses. I’d written it in first person perspective, and I hadn’t written anything like that before. I think I may have deleted it, but I may have it on a forum I made with some of my writer friends where we can post our writings and critique each other’s work even when we’re not online on Skype.

So, tomorrow, I’m going to push myself again with Radio Silence. My goal is to get to Chapter 8 by midnight. I’ve got two big fights planned between Gordon and a prisoner, and it’s going to be a lot of fun writing them. I at least need to finish writing Chapter Six because I held off on posting Chapter Five last friday so I can post two chapters next Friday. (No worries – it’ll still be suspenseful. You’re welcome. -dodges a burning trashcan- )

The point is, pushing yourself as a writer is never really a bad thing. Sure, you make a lot of mistakes along the way, and I certainly wrote some pretty incomprehensible things while I was pushing myself, but it’s at times like that when you can test your determination. You get to see just how stubborn you are. I’ll most likely set out an hour tomorrow so I can write Chapter 6 and 7, and as a bonus, I’ll make a video of myself writing it. A few months ago, I learned how to record my computer screen by using this program, Screenflow.

So, prepare yourself for a video after I post Chapter Five and Six. You’ll see a lot of deleting, terrible punctuation errors, and massive factual errors. I know, sounds like a lot of fun.

It’s really a video for the people that are most interested in how I write things (yes, all ten views will be myself re-watching it to see all my mistakes), and I’ll most likely speed up the video on Final Cut Pro X so it isn’t so dreadfully long. Hope you’re looking forward to it.

When have you pushed yourself as a writer? I’d love to hear your stories down in the comments, and I bet they’re a lot less mistake-filled as mine. Have a cool day.

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Comments
  1. C.Hill says:

    The only one that comes to mind was one that happened last summer, about a week earlier than right now. I had just returned from vacation and had these ideas ruminating in my head. First thing I did was become grumpy until the 5K words were slammed down on my computer. Two days of that, and I was out of creativity for the next week. Suffice to say, that novel is now shelved.

    Another time was during NaNoWriMo of last year, working on this new novel. I flew through one chapter in a day to begin with, the worst thing to do, about 3K words. That may not be a great bit, but I tend to barely scrape out 500 words a day, usually every other day.

    I’m about to push myself this week, finish a chapter I just started, about 5K words. The problem being that my week will be full of other work. We’re going to be finishing up the chicken coop and dry walling the kitchen, so my free time will be nonexistent. Will be fun, though. I need to finish this book by the end of the year.

    Sorry for the novella. 🙂

    • J.A. Romano says:

      To be fair, if that’s a novella, my post would qualify as a massive, long winded novel. xD

      I normally write anything from 300 words to a thousand words whenever I try to write, but it’s not always a good thing. It tends to mean that I burn out very easily. So, one day, I write one thousand and five hundred words. And I don’t write a single sentence for two weeks.

      But, I’m hoping that I’m not too burnt out from pushing myself that that happens.

  2. The only short stories I’ve ever managed to complete have come from pushing. I’d get an idea (usually while at work), mull it over for a while, then get home and try to pour the whole thing out before it was time to sleep. Two, three days maximum of this, and I’d have a story. Any other time I’ve tried to write a short story, it’s been like plotting a sequel — a lot of ideas, planning, etc — but then I start it and am just plodding through it, losing steam by the word.

    That isn’t what happens to me when I’m writing a longer-form story, but it seems short stories only work for me when I pour them fresh from my steaming brain.

    Other than that, I’ve done marathon editing/rewriting sessions (8 hour stretch was my best, I think) where I only stopped typing because I could no longer squint narrow enough to see through my hazy eyes. My problem is that my push-moments tend to be truncated by the need to go to work.

    I do try to do all my rewrites of battle scenes or long conversations in one go, though. Otherwise the flow can get completely scrambled from one day to the next.

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