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AceTachyon
02-17-2010, 09:56 AM
(Although the project is science fiction and I've posted a similar thread in that forum, I thought Roundtable might be another place to ask for suggestions from the wider membership. SoccerMom--let me know if this is kosher.)

In writing the Kat and Mouse serial (http://www.katandmouseserial.com), I realized that I am essentially writing a complete, finished, ready to post 6,500 - 9,000+ word short story every 1.5 months (roughly every 6 to 7 weeks).

I say every 6 to 7 weeks because each story has about 6-7 (sometimes 8) installments and by the end of those installments, I have the next story ready to go. Or should have the next story ready to go.

That means in those 6 to 7 weeks, I have to plot, write, edit, and revise. I also need to allow time for my beta reader to go through each story and provide notes and feedback.

Here's my question--do you guys have any suggestions on how to keep up the pace and not burn out?

I'm concerned about burning out on the writing. Not so much coming up with the stories--I've got episode sketches worked out to the 20th episode. I'm more concerned with the not wanting to sit and write, with suddenly reaching a point where it becomes more work than fun.

It's not at that point, thank the gods, but I'd like to avoid it.

Open to suggestions.

Thanks.

mario_c
02-17-2010, 10:20 AM
That's a hard question. Writing on a rigid schedule week in and week out, can feel like...well, work. And in a job you take two days off for every five that you work, and take a week every 6 months (if you're lucky) that you don't work at all. The difference is, if you're like me, you can't just sit down and tap out 3 or 4 pages on demand. If I could do that, I would have finished up years ago. Anyway, if you have a day you want off for whatever reason you gotta try and get as much done before that so you can go have a life and not feel like you're living with a weight on your shoulders every waking minute. That's very important.
Remind yourself how lucky you are to be a writer in demand, although you might not be getting paid at this time (I don't know if you are, I hope you are - that's a different mindset altogether). Keeping your passion fueled to do this is hard, and everyone has a different way of doing it. So I should shut up and let others opine on that, because I'd frankly be open to some advice myself.
Good luck with the job!

Ms Hollands
02-17-2010, 03:23 PM
If you're enjoying it, I'm guessing your chances of burning out a pretty low. If it becomes less enjoyable, it could be the early signs of burn-out. Slow down or take a break for a while, and your audience will no doubt be waiting when you come back, extra eager after a pause.

Stijn Hommes
02-17-2010, 03:54 PM
Burn out happens when you keep up the pace despite your mind and body telling you otherwise. Take regular breaks, tweak your schedule if it helps, and you should be fine.

kaitie
02-17-2010, 04:11 PM
I tend to associate burnout with stress. I think as long as you don't put too much pressure on yourself or stress yourself out over your writing, there probably isn't a whole lot to worry about.

Ken
02-17-2010, 04:15 PM
... yep. 'Pacing' is important. It's like doing physical labor. You've got to space out your exertions. If you concentrate them you'll quickly tire. Breaks are good as well. Take days off where you don't even so much as think about writing. Go on all-day outings and just get away from it all. G'luck and congrats on the steady gig.

Jamesaritchie
02-17-2010, 08:27 PM
(Although the project is science fiction and I've posted a similar thread in that forum, I thought Roundtable might be another place to ask for suggestions from the wider membership. SoccerMom--let me know if this is kosher.)

In writing the Kat and Mouse serial (http://www.katandmouseserial.com), I realized that I am essentially writing a complete, finished, ready to post 6,500 - 9,000+ word short story every 1.5 months (roughly every 6 to 7 weeks).

I say every 6 to 7 weeks because each story has about 6-7 (sometimes 8) installments and by the end of those installments, I have the next story ready to go. Or should have the next story ready to go.

That means in those 6 to 7 weeks, I have to plot, write, edit, and revise. I also need to allow time for my beta reader to go through each story and provide notes and feedback.

Here's my question--do you guys have any suggestions on how to keep up the pace and not burn out?

I'm concerned about burning out on the writing. Not so much coming up with the stories--I've got episode sketches worked out to the 20th episode. I'm more concerned with the not wanting to sit and write, with suddenly reaching a point where it becomes more work than fun.

It's not at that point, thank the gods, but I'd like to avoid it.

Open to suggestions.

Thanks.

I think we each have a different burnout point. You have to find out what yours is, and stay below it.

But having said this, really, that doesn't come across as very much work to me. If you'd said one such story a week, I could see burnout approaching, though even then, I know a huge bunch of writers who would still be writing more.

I'm writing less now than ever, but I produce about four times that amount of writing in the same time period, and I'm only able to actually sit and write one hour per day, six days per week.

So are you actually burning out, or just worried about doing so?

All I can say is try to get ahead. Plot and plan the next story or two while actually writing this one. Actually write one story ahead, if you can, so your beta reader is also one story ahead.

And you could always save time by skipping the beta reader altogether.

AceTachyon
02-17-2010, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, folks. Taking breaks is definitely something I will plan on.

JAR--No, it's probably not very much work. But given my current schedule, it's a goodly chunk of work (10-12 hours a week set aside for writing, sometimes up to 24-26 if I plan it right) and allows me to get some sleep before I have to get up and shuffle off to the dayjob during the week.

AceTachyon
02-17-2010, 10:24 PM
All I can say is try to get ahead. Plot and plan the next story or two while actually writing this one. Actually write one story ahead, if you can, so your beta reader is also one story ahead.

You know, I never really thought about working ahead while in the middle of a story. I think maybe I'm being so focused on one story at a time and trying to get it all done within the time frame before starting a new one that it's stirring up potential burnout thoughts.

I will have to do that this time around. Write A, hand A over to beta, work on B, get A back from beta and polish, post final A, repeat process with B.

Jamesaritchie
02-17-2010, 11:25 PM
You know, I never really thought about working ahead while in the middle of a story. I think maybe I'm being so focused on one story at a time and trying to get it all done within the time frame before starting a new one that it's stirring up potential burnout thoughts.

I will have to do that this time around. Write A, hand A over to beta, work on B, get A back from beta and polish, post final A, repeat process with B.

I have trouble working ahead with fiction because I never plan or plot stories, be they short or novel length. I just get the idea, which usually means a only a title I like, and then I just sit down and write the story.

But I've saved myself from burning out with nonfiction by planning ahead on many occasions. Getting ahead means you can, when you really need it, take a day or two off to recharge the batteries.

You still have to be careful not to take too many days off too often, but a day or two now an dthen can make a huge difference.

Linda Adams
02-18-2010, 03:14 AM
I've suffered from burn out. I was trying to break into Hollywood at the time, and a misguided individual told me that I would need to produce one script a week (50-120 pages). I wrote fifty of them, one right after another, and then the well dried up. I couldn't write for two years (one of the reasons people dismissing writer's block bothers me. I couldn't even come up with an idea. There was nothing there).

In hindsight, there were a couple of things that I should have done:

* Take breaks between projects to recharge.

* Take a break during each week, rather than writing seven days straight.

Recently, I did a draft of about 50K in 30 days. Burning out again was in the back of my mind, but with this, I had the experience to recognize signs when I needed to stop. In this case, I started out while writing this draft by taking every Friday off. It was such a big help that I've continued doing that. I also was flexible in other areas, like if I worked really late and was just too tired, I was probably better off waiting until the next day.

BigWords
02-18-2010, 06:58 AM
If the characters are continuing over the series, then work out what the final story will be, then start plotting back from that point to the position the characters are in at the moment. Build up to the final story through the other stories you will be telling in the meantime, so you don't have so much pressure on you to come up with a big finale. The final story will naturally take its' cues from everything which has gone before.

If you're not carrying the characters over... Ummm... Well... I'll get back to you on that. :D

Oh, and Mario...


And in a job you take two days off for every five that you work...

Some people get two days off.

Jamesaritchie
02-18-2010, 09:28 PM
And in a job you take two days off for every five that you work, and take a week every 6 months (if you're lucky) that you don't work at all. !

Well, some jobs. At others you get one day off, and in some you get no days off. One of my sons has been working twelve hours per day, seven days per week, for months now.

Jamesaritchie
02-18-2010, 09:32 PM
I do take every Sunday off. But that's it. Too many days off is worse than not enough.

Burnout is often a factor of not being used to the schedule, rather than the schedule being too hard.

But I think a good rule to follow is the day job model. If you have a reason that would get you off a nine to five job, use it. If you don't have a reason that would get you off a nine to five job, sit down and write.

Ruv Draba
02-19-2010, 08:28 AM
If you're worrying about burnout, I wouldn't take on open-ended periodic serial stories, Ace.

icerose
02-19-2010, 06:36 PM
You know, I never really thought about working ahead while in the middle of a story. I think maybe I'm being so focused on one story at a time and trying to get it all done within the time frame before starting a new one that it's stirring up potential burnout thoughts.

I will have to do that this time around. Write A, hand A over to beta, work on B, get A back from beta and polish, post final A, repeat process with B.

This right here is what will give you burnouts. Churning out 1k words every week won't. It's the pressure that does it. It's all well and good to set deadlines and goals but when they are self imposed sometimes they can cause more trouble than any gain you might have had.