Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Revving the Obsession Engine

An obsessive turn of mind is among my best assets. On mellower days, it manifests as a glacially long attention span, but on more frenetic days, it's like an engine that's always running hot. The tricky thing is to get all the gears to connect so that the project I need to make progress on is the one the obsession engine is linked up to.

For the past three weeks or so, the obsession engine has been revving, but it's trying to drive the wrong project. I love writing the Rugosa Coven characters, and their two novellas are not the end of what I mean to do with them, but dammit, I need them to let go of my brain for a while.

In the first year after I left academia, I wrote over 300,000 words of rough draft. Very, very rough draft, it's true, but I don't think the roughness I allowed myself is the reason I wrote so much then, while I've only hit 100K/yr since. I think it's that, during that first year, I wrote whatever scene the obsession engine was linked up to. There was no audience. There was no hope or expectation of a professional sale anytime in the near future. There was nothing at stake for me in steering the process, so I didn't bother trying to steer. It was like Nanowrimo every day, only without the stress and metrics. Now it actually matters which project gets my attention first. I miss the freedom of having no clue what the hell I was doing.

This morning, Dan read the first Stisele chapter over breakfast while I checked email. I was such a pest. Every time he laughed, every time he raised his eyebrows, every time he had any discernible reaction to the text, I'd interrupt him to say, "What? What?" (Have I mentioned that my spouse is a really good sport about this whole writing thing?) Stisele has a reader now. I wonder if that will help. If I could just will myself to slide into her skin the way I used to slide into Haldur's without half trying, there would be progress. Progress, dammit!
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