Writing Marathon: The End

36 hours (and counting!) of no sleep, 22 hours of writing, 18,000+ words.

Now it’s all over, and the only thing left is a sort of jangly feeling I imagine tweakers have after coming down from a meth high.  (Believe me, I know a little.  I watch some of them from the windows of my own home.)

No, that’s not true. (Well, yes, the viewing of meth heads out my windows is true).  I mean, that’s not the only thing I have left.  I have about 12,000 words added to my novel and about 6,000 words scattered over some short stories.  And they’re pretty good, since I did spend some of my time (especially near the end) re-reading the stuff I’d written and editing on the fly.  I cut, altogether, about 3,000 words along the way.  So, in reality I really wrote about 21,000 words, with 18,000 making the final cut.  I’ll take that percentage any day.

What did I learn?  Weelllllll, first and foremost, I learned that I am no longer 25.  Or 35.  Or even, Jebus help me, 45.  I am 49.8 years old.  I am no longer able to stay awake for 36 hours or even 24 hours straight and then function normally.  Or at all.  OK, old body, lesson learned.

Second, here’s my true lesson, and it’s a shocker.  Writer’s block?  What the fuck are you talking about, son?  Writer’s block?  Are you kidding?  Do bricklayers have layer’s block? To doctors have medical blocks?  Do lawyers have…ummm…screwing people blocks?  NO, particularly that latter one there.

So  why do whiney writers claim writer’s block?  I’ll tell ya, because we’re lazy and whiney.  “Oh, I have writer’s block today.  I can’t possibly sit here in my underpants and labor over a hot laptop and move my pudgy fingers a scant few inches to type 2,000 words.  I need to lie down instead.”

Fuck that noise.  I proved to myself that writer’s block is an excuse, like so many other things in life.  It’s something I’ve talked myself into over the years in order to make myself feel better about being lazy.  No more.  If I can write 18,000 (good!) words in a 22-hour period, I think I can scrape the energy to write 2,500 words in a normal eight-hour day…and on a daily basis.  Just start typing.  Hey, they might not all make the cut, but the ones that do will bring you closer to that goal of finishing that short story, novella or novel.

For me, an additional 12,000 words brings me 1/3 of the way to the end of this book.  I want to have this done by the end of October.  I kind of doubted my ability to do this, but no more.  I might not make Oct. 31 on the button, but I’ll be close.  Because now I know I can do it.  Period.

So thanks to the six of you who read this.  Thanks to everyone for following the tweets.  Thanks to my fiance, who thought (OK, really still thinks) I’m nuts.  Thanks to my three dogs who didn’t understand why we weren’t going to bed.  And thanks in advance to everyone who finally buys & enjoys this book when it’s finally done, sold & published.



About John F.D. Taff

John F.D. Taff is a writer, published author, raconteur and wrangler of angry stoats. He has more than 80 short stories and 7 novels published. He lives in the great, unspoiled vastness of the Midwest. He has a tremendous wife named Debbie, three pugs, Sadie, Tovah and Muriel, and three great kids--Harry, Sam and Molly. View all posts by John F.D. Taff

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