August 22nd, 2014
Living Up To One’s Own Expectations

The other day I saw a post on Facebook from one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Armentrout. She was talking about how she wrote a 105,000 word book in 38 days. When I read the short post, I was struck by such feelings of inadequacy. (Totally not her fault.) I know it’s because I’ve been writing a novella for the past few weeks and I’m not done yet. (Will be today, but that’s not the point.) Anyway, my immediate reaction to reading her post was ‘What Am I Doing Wrong?’ I am working as fast as I can right now. I know I need time off between projects or I start developing mental burnout. Of course knowing that meant nothing, when I read her post. I still felt like a failure. Which is why I am so grateful she followed that FB post up with THIS BLOG POST.

Hearing the crazy schedule she keeps was a relief. A relief because I realized that there was no way in hell I could keep her 10 hour a day, 7 day a week writing routine up. I have learned that for me in order to not lose momentum I have to write six days a week. I was writing 500 words a day, which is not much, but recently I’ve up that to 1000. For me, 1000 words a day, 5 days a week (the six day I just try to get a few paragraphs on the page) is sustainable. Anything else is not. Does that mean I only write a thousand words a day? No. Yesterday, I wrote 2500. Monday, I wrote 2200. Tuesday, I wrote 1110. You get the picture. Today will be another 2-3K day because I want to get this book done. 🙂

But the whole situation reminded me again of how dangerous it is for writers to compare themselves to each other. Had Jennifer not said how many hours she works, how many days she works, and how she hasn’t gone on vacation in three years, I would’ve sat there thinking that I was somehow lazy for not being able to produce a book in that time period. I think it’s really easy to look at successful writers and feel somehow lacking. This is especially true when you’re putting in the work. But as she reminded everyone, all writers are different. They approach the craft differently. They work at different speeds and that’s okay.

I wrote this blog post because I thought others might need the reminder, too. 🙂

Now I’m off to finish Hawk’s Slave. Have a great weekend. Jordan

6 comments to “Living Up To One’s Own Expectations”

  1. It’s so true. I keep reminding myself I have a small child and no child care, two older kids, a heavy load of home responsibilities, and that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t work 10-18 hour days. But it’s hard to remember that you are actually better off setting a low but sustainable goal.

  2. Charli,

    It is hard to remember that, especially when you have none of the responsibilities you’ve listed. I think it’s vital to know your work rhythm.

  3. The passion for producing the story varies from one author to another. The story has its highs and lows because we must convey action, feeling, character interaction, and timeline adherence in the most entertaining form we can. How we do it is not a mystery, but a drive within our souls to produce it. I’m happy for Ms. Armentrout, but I don’t write like she does. They claim that no two snowflakes are the same. That definitely holds true for authors. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing the blog post, Jordan. I found both Jennifer’s and your blog post to be very motivating. I often worry about my writing process, that it’s not organized, etc. But you both made me realize my process is ok for me. Thanks! 🙂

  5. Bernard, Very true and good to remember. 🙂

  6. Nancy, I’m so glad you liked it. I worry about the same things you do. You are not alone. 🙂

    Exactly! We all have to find our flow.