Binge writing


Paula’s Post #116


informal noun
1. a short period devoted to indulging in an activity to excess, especially drinking alcohol or eating.
“he went on a binge and was in no shape to drive”
synonyms: drinking bout, debauch; More
2. indulge in an activity, especially eating, to excess.
“some dieters say they cannot help binging on chocolate”
synonyms: overindulge, overeat, gorge; 

Oh, my.

I’m laughing so hard, I can hardly type,

I’ve just read Silk’s post for the week, entitled “Writing on the Road Again, Again”.

No, spellcheck, that’s not a repeated word in the title, it’s intentional on Silk’s part. Intended to emphasize the crazy whirl of travel that we all seem to find ourselves caught up in these days.

And while I’m laughing, I’m also shaking my head in wonder. Let’s take a look at my own ‘travel scorecard’.

Since this challenge started six weeks ago, I’ve been away to a wedding in the Okanagan region of British Columbia (but that was just three days, no big deal); spent a week in La Quinta, California, practicing with my tennis team; then four days in Santa Barbara, at the USTA California Sectionals; before returning to beautiful British Columbia (by way of La Quinta (two more days) to enjoy almost a month of glorious fall weather. So how does that stack up 3+7+4+2 = 16 days on the road so far.

But I’m not done yet.

Our win in Santa Barbara means my team is off this week to NATIONALS! Yes, I’m leaving Tuesday for five days in toasty Surprise, AZ to battle a bevy of other crazy old ladies for tennis supremacy. At least in our age group. At least in our division (the lowliest).

But seriously, 55 really is the new 25. Or 35. Oh wait, maybe I’ll get back to you on that, because sometimes my feet and ankles and knees – oh yes my knees – are pretty sure that we’re all of 55 and then some.

But all to say that in reviewing my travel scorecard over the past six weeks, I’m amazed that I’ve made as much progress as I have during this 5writers challenge.

What I think I’m learning is that being a good writer – being a committed writer – is all about ‘sacrifice’. Choosing, as Silk describes, to sit indoors at the kitchen table of the 5th wheel instead of taking that afternoon walk on the beach.

It’s soooooo hard sometimes.

Maybe what we’re all beginning to realize is that this ‘hard’ is not just a 5writer5month thing. Maybe this time it’s really starting to dawn on us that this could be an entire lifestyle thing, if we really want to be published authors. Especially if we want to try to be more than a ‘one hit wonder’ (though right now, I’d bet money that some of us might jump at even that). Because it is hard. For me (and I’m sure this is the case of many if not all the 5writers and many of our writing colleagues) writing involves, as Silk so aptly describes, hard choices.

Looking back, it was almost easier when I was working full-time.

Hard to believe, but when I worked full-time as a prosecutor, I’d come home exhausted. Especially after a day calling ‘the list’ in remand court. An endeavour that required me to take conduct of so many files I actually needed a shopping cart to wheel them all to court.

Yes, you read that right, a shopping cart.

How’s that for a mental image?

But I had only two email accounts back then. One at work, and one at home. Not the six or seven I apparently need to navigate through my life now.

We had cable, but not Netflix. We had kids, but not grandkids. We had AOL, not Facebook.

In many ways, a simpler world.

Back then, flipping open my laptop and writing 30 pages for my critique group was a way to wind down from the crazy day I’d had in court. It was different. It was creative. It was fun.

It’s still fun for me, but now I find I’m battling so very many more choices to carve out a little writing time.

Take this week, for instance. Last weekend was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. That meant making chilli and guests at our house Friday evening. Then shopping and cleaning up the house on Saturday. Then attending dinner at our friends’ house on Sunday. Then cooking for six on Monday, with my sister-in-law, who we love seeing, staying for three days. So of course, we had to go see The Martian on Tuesday, after some tennis practice and before my sister-in-law left on Wednesday. But by Wednesday, I was so behind on my work (not writing work, other work) I had to spend all day on that. Thursday, doggie dentist day (don’t ask) and Friday I caught up with a dear friend I hardly seen all summer. Nothing extraordinary. Likely a week much like your week. But a week sorely lacking in writing time.

So today, Saturday, was a gift. Other than have exclusive dog duty and the electrician here most of the day, I had a full day of precious writing time. A full day. So I sat my butt down and wrote. All day. Because with my schedule, who knows if I’ll have the chance again anytime soon.

Don’t worry, I’m resigned to this now. I’m officially a ‘binge writer’. I don’t mind, I kinda like the sense of accomplishment that comes with chalking up the page count. And it lets me off the hook for a while, because this coming week isn’t a writing week, it’s a tennis week.

That’s just the way it is in my world.

But I’ll be back to my own ‘writing on the road’ and yes, back to binge writing again soon, too.

You can count on it.

Pies eaten this week:   Oh, where to start? First there was the Feta, Pear and Caramelized Onion Strudel I made for Thanksgiving, the Butter Pecan Tarts purchased from the Hospital Auxiliary Ladies at the Gibsons Fall Fair, the enormous Pumpkin Pie from Costco… well, you get the idea. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Turkey Dinners:  2

Tennis Practice:  1

Baseball Games watched:  2.5. Or maybe it was three. The all look alike, mostly. The Blue Jays and the Royals are even wearing the same colour uniform.

Binge Writing Sessions:  1. On the novel and on this blog post, both in one day. Whew!

New pages written:  Hard to say… some old, some new, some tarted up a bit…. but I’m making progress.

Total Word Count:  35,189.

The good news, is that works out to about 35 x 1000 words a day. September 5 to October 17 works out to be about 42 days, which means theoretically, I’m only 7 days behind schedule.

Of course, what I know and you don’t know is that more than half of those 35,000 or so words to date are from an abandoned ‘half-draft’ of a work in progress, I’m going to run out of manuscript soon, and then I’ll be all writing fresh pages.


Bring on the Binge Fest!

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