Monday, April 16, 2012

Out to All

I believe "out to all" might be a Bajan term, so I'll define it for you. It means "fast as possible." For example:

"Wuh of course he get in a accident, he had the car out to all."

or, in Standard English.

"I'm not surprised he had an accident, driving that fast."

As, I mentioned last week, I've decided to write a book in a week (approx.). My 4 day total is 17,000 words-ish, way below where it should be, and my brain is fried today, so I've taken it off. But whatever else happens the week (approx.) I've realised a couple of things.


I've mentioned time and again that I have two speeds: off and whoosh! And yet, I spend so much of my time trying to fit into a world somewhere in between there.

Nanowrimo is a 30 day challenge in November to write a 50,000 novel. Lots of writers think that's too insane a pace. Some go as far as to put it down. "What can you write in 30 days that was even worth writing?" I've done it 4 years, and "won" every time. In the in-between times, I've tried my hand at novelling pursuits. I think this is the first time I've passed 10K outside Nano.

Why should it matter? The fact that I'm able to crank out 13,000 words in a day (that only happened once) should be a good thing. Why is it that I slow myself down to a "normal pace?" It got me to thinking about life in general. I'm likely to just jump into "huge" things.

Like, India. I was listening to an online radio thingy and this one gospel song made me feel like I should be helping the human race somehow. A message box popped up: you've got mail. It was a program to go to India and build houses for Dalit people. In a split second I knew I was going. Technically I didn't have the money, and I literally ate ramen all month, but I got there, and it's a trip I will never forget. But many people would have weighed options and stuff. And some of my friends did criticise me for making a split second decision that affected my eating habits.

The song that led me to India. Give Me Your Eyes, by Brandon Heath.

But this is my natural speed. I've been apologetic for it, and I probably will be again. Right now, however, I realise that I can only be who I am. And this is who I am. This is how I operate.

I remember one episode of Alladin, the animated series, where Alladin was fleeing, and asked genie to turn into something with legs. Genie turned into a table. Alladin (exasperated) asked for "legs that move," and the table started to gallop. Alladin's assessment? "Whatever works!"

If a process, or a lifestyle works for you, it works for you. I don't believe that I get the right to critique anyone else's choices. I shouldn't worry so much about making mine conform.


Chris Baty, the founder of Nanowrimo (man, I sound like a commercial), wrote a book called NO PLOT, NO PROBLEM. In that book, he reccommends NOT taking time off to write. When he took a sabbatical from life to have writing time, he found himself doing everything but. "Ooo, look at this thing that's been broken for like 5 years, and I haven't needed it all that time, wouldn't now be a great time to fix it?"

I've found, in the last 4 days, that the (sort-of) inverse is also true. Fitting in 5,000 words a day has somehow pushed all the other parts of my life to the extreme. (Except house-cleaning. House-cleaning for me is like that one seed in your class science project that just didn't germinate. lol) So, I write 5,000 words, and I teach all my classes, and I read blogs, and I update Facebook, and read Twitter, and watch a movie, and catch up my anime, and read novels. Seriously, I have watched a movie EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. since I started my writing project.

It's counter-intuitive, but it seems to me that the relationship between time and time usage is inversely-proportional. The more time you use, the more time you seem to have. Actually, what probably happens is this: being super-productive in one area, pushes you to be more effective in others. Even on the internet, the world's most notorious time-suck, I'm not spending my time faffing around. I'm doing the things I'm supposed to be doing.

I guess the lesson here is that it is hard to make time to write. But it's possible that making that time, can make you more efficient in the hours your not at the desk.

It's Monday, that's the contents of my mind.


Sophia Richardson said...

Love that story about the Aladdin series, how adorable. And, yeah, your India trip decision may have been out there, but that quality is totally enviable for someone like me who weighs pros and cons to death so that neither option feels fun anymore.

Sana said...

out to all. i learned something new today. :)

Liza said...

I love your speeds "off and whoosh!" Whatever works for you is a good thing, right?

Jolene Perry said...

I'm a firm believer in nano.

LOADS of authors write books in less time than that, and some of them are really, really good.

I believe that it was Kiersten White who did book two in less than two weeks - and it was the middle book in a series!