Writing Marathons

I’ve learned three things from writing marathons:

1. I can trust my basic prose level to sound okay on first draft, without me paying too much attention to it as it flows out. I need to save my concentration for keeping the whole story in mind. Doing paper edits before the marathon helps a lot on thinking about the story’s shape; so do the comments I get from my workshop on the partial. Making notes after those comments and edits, on specifically what I need to include before the novel’s end, also helps a lot. The notes can be lather, rinse, repeat at each stage of the writing process.

2. Breaks are necessary for me, even in a marathon, even if the breaks are only standing up after an hour or so to put away part of a load of laundry. That’s one kind of break. The other is finishing a large section, then taking a think-break and making notes on the next section, so I don’t have to waste time flailing when I sit back down again to write. I can enforce my think-breaks by, for example, trapping myself downstairs waiting for my laundry to finish, with no entertainment but the notebook and pen.

3. I can write a lot in a short period if I need to, but never as much as I wish I could. I have to remind myself not to have wildly unrealistic expectations; it helps to know what I’ve managed to accomplish in the past.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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2 Responses to Writing Marathons

  1. Jeannie Lin says:

    Excellent points. The most important thing for a writing marathon is to know yourself. Sometimes doing writing challenges and the like can help you learn about your writing habits as well.

    As for me, in running and in writing, slow and steady definitely fits my style. I wish I could sprint to the finish, but I'm the tortoise in this game.

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    The most important thing for a writing marathon is to know yourself.

    That's a quotable quote!

    I am usually a tortoise, but every once in a while, I need to do a marathon.

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