It’s the end fo the first week for the challenge, and another highly productive day of writing! Just finished my last sprint for the day. The grand total: 6223 words today, and 32,311 total for the book.
I’m starting to think this one won’t be as long as the last. Still not sure, as I continue to add chapters as I go. I’ve got at LEAST another 20k words left in the book. Might be as much as 60k total length, but I think the story might simply wrap up shorter than the 70k I’d originally planned, and shorter even than the 67k for Accord of Honor. We shall see. I’m OK with it running a little bit short, but I do want people to feel like they’ve had an enjoyable, sizable read!
This is still a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get cracking on the next book after this one is out, honestly. Oh – yeah – I spent part of my downtime today starting to flesh out the major movements of Book 3. So far it looks like it’s going to read a little bit like “The 300” mixing in with chunks of “Star Wars: A New Hope”. It’s going to be fun to write.
I have no idea if there will be a Book 4 yet. 🙂
A week in, and a lot of writing behind me, I am learning more and more about stamina and how it pertains to writing. I’ve spent a LOT of time at the keyboard lately. Today my knees hurt. My elbow aches a little. Aside from the minor body aches (I have been getting up, walking around, and doing light exercise, don’t worry!), there is a general sense of mental exhaustion after a few sprints.
It’s odd. Because my body doesn’t feel tired. But my brain needs a break once in a while. I just finished reading the first book in the “20-Sided Sorceress” series today during one of those breaks – because I find one of the BEST ways to recharge is to read or watch good fiction. (Highly recommend the series if you like urban fantasy, by the way; her protagonist reminds me a lot of Raven in my Raven’s Heart series.)
So if you find yourself starting to get tired and aren’t sure why, try taking a breather. The same way you would if you were working to improve your running endurance, you need to rest sometimes so you don’t burn out or break. Remember that novel writing is a marathon, not a sprint. After this challenge there will still be the next book, and the next, and the one after that. Make sure it stays fun. Writing can be the best thing in the world if you’re loving it, or as much a hell as any other job if you’re not.
As always, you can sign up for email updates on my progress – click the link below to join and follow along.
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5 thoughts on “21-Day Challenge: Day 7”
Great stuff, Kevin. Keep at it and take care of your body. I do 30 min sprints and try to take at least 10 min off in between sprints to stretch and get away from the keyboard.
For sure. Actually, I took a good hour off at one point to finish reading that book I mentioned. Taking breaks is pretty key.
I read a book a while back that had the following passage that I highlighted that might give you insight into your mental fatigue. I read it every so often to remind myself why physical fatigue is just one small part of a hard day of work. 🙂
From The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin:
“…regardless of where it comes from, the brain burns glucose, as a car burns gasoline, to fuel mental operations. Just how much energy does the brain use? In an hour of relaxing or daydreaming, it uses eleven calories or fifteen watts—about the same as one of those new energy-efficient lightbulbs. Using the central executive for reading for an hour takes about forty-two calories. Sitting in class, by comparison, takes sixty-five calories—not from fidgeting in your seat (that’s not factored in) but from the additional mental energy of absorbing new information. Most brain energy is used in synaptic transmission…”
Writing and all the decision-making inherent in that process uses a lot of actual real-world energy.
Typing is just one small part of your total energy use for the day when you’re writing, especially when you’re pushing yourself mentally to do the work because you’re already tired.
I’ve been watching avidly as you go through this challenge. You’re doing such a great job staying on track with it. I’m cheering you on! 🙂
Thanks for the cheers!
Good points. Also, aside from the simple burning of glucose, you’re also looking at the actual generation of electrical energy from that glucose. That requires the use and re-use of electrolyte ions to generate action potentials. I’m not a neurologist, and only have the basic medical view of how the brain works, but it seems reasonable to me that using your brain a lot can result in use occurring faster than the ions can have their charges reset – which we read as “feeling tired”. And when we “get better” at a mental task, is that our brain simply setting up new neural pathways to make the process more efficient, so that it requires less energy to do the same work, and therefore allows us to do that task for longer? I think it could be something like that.
Ooh. I like what that could mean. Currently, I write much slower than you do. I’ve been trying for quite a while to increase my speed, but I’m not consistent about practicing that. Maybe pushing myself to write faster more often will create better, more efficient pathways and allow me to write faster as a general rule. For this to work, though, I’d probably need to practice this most of the time instead of sporadically—push myself to write as quickly as possible for many sessions/days in a row.
I had almost decided to back off on the push to write faster and focus exclusively on writing more, but a week or so ago, I admitted I wasn’t ready to give up on that yet. Now I have another reason to stick it out. Thanks for that! 😀