Rotating the Crops

The last week of novel writing looked like this:

Monday: 2095 words
Tuesday: 2151 words
Wednesday: 1055 words
Thursday: 2011 words
Friday: 1174 words

Looks okay, right? Three target days, two days I didn’t meet target – fairly standard, and, at 8486 words, the most I’ve written in a single week.

Except Monday was boosted from some writing I did in the weekend. Wednesday was a scattered day of diminishing returns. Thursday I made it over the line – by staying in the office until 8pm, until I staggered past the target. Friday, I stayed until 5pm, said fuck it, and went home, having written 28k in total on The Voices of Gods.

The fallow period has begun.

It happens during most of my novels – somewhere between 25k and 30k on the first draft, however long that takes to write, I start lagging. The set up is done, I’ve finally established some character voice , I’ve got some exciting events coming up and my misty ideas of the ending are beginning to solidify… and I don’t want to write this right now. There’s no life here.

The story needs to rest, and so do I.

It’s all fine. Were I on a tighter deadline, I might worry. I wrote the bulk of While We Run‘s first draft under contract, in ten weeks, and pushed through the fallow period in a blind panic. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I had to do the most rewriting on the words I wrote during that fortnight of misery. This time, I’m not even a month into a six-month residency, and I’ve got 28k.

On the other hand, I’ve got the time and brain to write. And I want to write – just not this thing, at this moment.

I haven’t talked about this much, but before the residency began, I sent my agent a co-written fantasy novel, the first novel I’ve completed since I started teaching. Since my current novel’s in fallow, we’ve started writing a novella set in the same world.

I’ve written 3000 words on it today.