I’ve been running a lot this year. Never really done it before and I never knew how complex it is. One of my running friends is a writer as well – which got us talking about pacing.
All writers pace themselves differently. Some books are long and drawn out, going slow and steady. Some are rapid, quick on the push, drawing back and slowing down before they’re off again at blinding speed. Some go pedal to the metal all the way to the end. And some feel like they never even start (*cue big sigh from Trey).
Whatever way you choose to write – be aware of it. There’s no right or wrong (he says, fully expecting someone to slide in with an “Actually–“). But it will serve you well to know how you write and how to make it work to your advantage.
I write fast. Fast books I mean. (Though I have been known to tickle the keys with a degree of speed when I’m rushed. Meaning: Trey forgets deadlines). It’s what comes natural to me. I’m not one for grand openers, or drawn-out beginnings. If my book was a movie it wouldn’t start with one of those scenic helicopter shots with classical music in the background. It would be a guy chasing another through a crowded street. Constantly.
When you take up running, a lot of people go too fast in the beginning. I know I did. I would be full of energy, thinking I easily could go for an hour or two and then burn out pretty fast. I ruined a lot of sessions before I got the hang of it. It’s hard to find your pace when you’re a starter. But once you do, you can use it.
I’ve been told I do a negative split when I run. It’s not something I’d even heard about, or knew that I was doing before someone told me. As far as I understand, it means I go faster on the second half. I keep a steady pace and let myself burn out when I know I can reach the end.
In many ways, I do the same when I write. I let you know where we’re headed and when we’re halfway there, there’s no turning back. I floor it.
“What the hell’s your point, Trey?!” I hear you ask.
Find your pace. Learn to understand the way you write, your rhythm. A lot of good writing is ruined by bad pacing. Like I said to begin with – there’s loads of different ways to write. Fast, slow, gradual increase, pulling back and forth. That’s all up to you.
But make sure you know your start, your middle and end, and that you have a plan to get there. Those places aren’t necessarily the same for all of us.