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All At Once, Or Not At All

This past weekend (and much of last week) I’ve been down with the flu. Apparently the back-to-school virus caught me, though I don’t have any school age children. Several of my coworkers do though, and I blame them for carrying it to me, or something. Regardless, today is the first day since Wednesday I actually woke up and didn’t feel like my cat had tried to bury me in her litter box while I slept.

Ugh.

Anyway, while I was down and out I still managed to get a huge editing/revising project done. This was mostly because I had sort of backed myself into a corner with a dumbly self-imposed deadline and I had to get it done. However, I’ve noted this behavior many times in myself. I can have weeks, even months, to get something done, but I usually end up doing it all once somewhere near the deadline, instead. On top of that, even when there’s not a deadline, I tend to be the type of person who will write nearly an entire book in two days and then spend the next week on the couch staring at Netflix. I’m a binge writer, a binge editor, a “do it all at once and then be lazy forever” type person.

I don’t know when, or how I got this way. It’s kind of just how my brain works. One would argue a slow, steady pace for a short time every day would be much more productive, but I’m happiest when I spend ten hours in a feverish typing frenzy and then don’t even look at writing for the next ten days. I can get a lot done, but I tend to get it all done at once. When my brain says “let’s write!” boy, am I gonna write. And it’s only gonna be during that time. I find that when I try to discipline myself to do “a little every day” I end up with horrible anxiety about making sure I get it done every single day, that I wedge it in there somewhere even if I don’t feel like writing. It makes me too squirrely.

I don’t know how to change this, or even if I should worry about doing so. Obviously, it works for me. I churn out books, and get them revised and edited, without issue. It’s just that I do it in marathons, instead of short dashes. My brain tends to be fickle too, and if I spend too long on one idea I end up bored of it.

I’m a bit impressed with myself I managed to do this editing project while zombie-ish and high on flu medicine, though. It looks like even when germs are crawling through me, my writing brain is on autopilot still.

How about you? Do you take things slow and steady, or like to do it all at once?

Megan Morgan View All

Paranormal and contemporary romance author.

8 thoughts on “All At Once, Or Not At All Leave a comment

  1. Glad you’re feeling a little better, first of all! I can’t imagine much keeps you down for long.
    I’m also a binge editor! I never thought of it that way, but when I have a manuscript I’m working on, I will work on it every day until I can’t focus well, or until life intrudes. I’ve always figured it’s because I have a day job, and work my editing around all other obligations with that and family. But deep down, I know that even if I had nothing else going on, I would still edit in large batches until the job is done. I’m not very good at pacing myself because I keep hearing a voice in the back of my mind that tells me someone is waiting for me to send their work back to them.

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    • Thank you! I’m feeling a lot better today. I just couldn’t seem to shake it!

      LOL I’m glad you feel that way about editing. From the author’s perspective, we’re pretty much dying a slow death every moment we’re not hearing from our publisher or agent, trust me. 😉 I just can’t work in little nibbles for some reason. I need to take great big bites and get it done faster, faster, faster! Ah, the way the human brain works…

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  2. Maybe the medicine helped! If the binge writing approach works, don’t knock it. We’re often told to write every day, and I do try, but I also have to try not to get into a guilt trip if I don’t.

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    • It’s easy to get caught up in all the ‘musts’ of writing. You MUST do this, you MUST do that to be a writer. We all write at our own pace, in a way that suits us. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was letting go of MUSTS.

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