It’s taken me a while to learn this about myself, but I am apparently just not one of those writers that can sit down and pour out a story onto paper until it’s done. Some people can, and that’s awesome. I, however, am just never going to be one of those people.
You see, I can write about 1,000-1,500 words with no problem. A couple of fits and false starts, sure, but eventually my writing will smooth out and I’ll get into the groove of it.
However, invariably, as I pass the 2,000 mark, things start to go a little awry. I’ll start to get physically tired. My mind starts losing focus, wanting to go on and work on other things, like catching up on my missed Supernatural episodes. Usually, this is the point where I give in to my distractions, having achieved a healthy word count for the day.
Sometimes though, (like during NaNoWriMo), I’ll push through. I’ll make myself write another 2,000 words. Or another 3,000 or 4,000. I can push myself up into a 7,000 word count day, and most of those words are good, usable.
The next day? I am nearly physically ill. I’m exhausted. I’m cranky. I don’t even want to hear the word “writing.” If I try to write, I get out 100, maybe 200 words, tops. And a lot of the time, those words are crap and all need to be cut out later.
It finally dawned on me–you can get a writing hangover.
Because I pushed myself so much in one day, trying to crank out word after word, the next day left my creative coffers nearly empty. My muse was dehydrated and craving electrolytes, as it were. I had a hangover from writing.
And just like binge drinking will cause a massive, day-ruining hangover, I’ve learned that binge writing can, too. And frankly, neither kind of hangover is very fun.
So I’ve learned I’m just not built to be the kind of writer that can sit and write 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 words until the story is done. Not without a major price to pay the next morning. I’ve learned to pace myself, and be okay with my 1,500 words days.
So what about you? Have you ever experienced a hangover from writing too much?