The Sound of Silence

Back in August of 2012, an idea for an erotic novella trilogy came to me. It was both exciting and intimidating since my go-to genre is romantic suspense. This idea, however, came nearly fully-formed. Well, when I say, ‘fully-formed’, I mean it was an idea with a bit of depth that felt worthy of deeper exploration.

It took nearly two months for me to fully plot the first story. I was ready to start writing it yet thoughts of how I would write Books 2 and 3 haunted me. What if, after writing Book 1, the others wouldn’t take shape? What would I do then? I had to force myself to focus on the story I was actually writing, not worry about the next two. I would deal with them, I told myself, in due time.

Well… it’s time. And for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been coming down hard on myself because the plotting/writing of Book 2 isn’t going as well as I would like. I have experienced highs as I’ve completed one tiny bit of plotting work. And I have felt incredible lows when I’ve tried to move forward… only to stop cold as the muse, for no apparent reason, grew silent.

I’ve always considered myself one of the world’s slowest writers but now wondered, since this new story was so hard to get onto the page, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

And then, just this morning, I read an article about a Simon and Garfunkel song that has been chosen (and more than deserved to be) for preservation in the Library of Congress. The song? The Sound of Silence.

While I love that song – and Simon and Garfunkel – it’s not the song, necessarily that made me feel better about the sluggish pace of my plotting and writing. Instead, it was this fact I discovered about Paul Simon’s writing of The Sound of Silence:

“Paul Simon took 6 months to write the lyrics, which are about man’s lack of communication with his fellow man. He averaged one line a day.”

He averaged one line a day over six months for a 217-word song.

Maybe I’m not the slowest writer after all. And maybe, just maybe, speed isn’t want matters.

10 Responses to The Sound of Silence

  • That song was certainly worth waiting for. Your story will be too.

  • I love that song — every word of each line. Yes, it was worth the wait. This gives us slower plotters and writers hope. Quality can take time.

    • He must have agonized over each word. And I can see how he might have gone back day after day to check how each word he wrote the day before sounded to him the day after. He wAs writing and revising in one pass. Not a bad idea, actually.

  • Wow! I needed this today, Deb. I had myself on a words-per-day schedule that didn’t work, and I would beat myself up when I didn’t make that goal. Finally, two weeks ago, I decided to just write the story. Took the pressure off of myself. I have a May 15th deadline and lots of time.
    Lo and behold, my brain took off! I wrote 3000 words yesterday–a record for me. I’m at 75,000 words for an 85,000 length book.
    Sometimes we just need to back off and let it happen.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    • My absolute pleasure, Pam! Happy to help. It helped me and I just had to share.

      Isn’t it amazing how much pressure we put on ourselves? We are often the worst boss we could ever have. I’m glad you gave yourself permission to write at your own pace. And Kudos to you for finding your groove again!

      To be honest, the reason I started this erotic was because of pressure I put on myself for my RS. It just wAsn’t coming together for me so I thought if I just wrote something for the fun of writing, I would feel excited about it again. And I did – I do. It’s an amazingly freeing process. Permission to have fun and let the words come. Bliss.

  • I think I’m in competition with you on being the slowest. A good day for me is 1,000 words and I don’t have many of those days. : ) It’s nice to hear that someone like Paul simon took so long to write it. Love Sound of Silence. When I hear it it brings me back to a different time. It’s touching, moving. Like the others said worth waiting for. Great Post!

    • Isn’t it funny how we think we’re alone in our writing angst and habits when, in fact, many of us are dealing with the same highs and lows. I guess the lesson is to just keep moving forward. One line at a time might seem like nothing, but look how beautiful all those lines together can be. The next time I’m feeling down about my progress, I will definitely think of this.

  • I have a 1000/day writing goal that I rarely meet; I’m happy if I write a paragraph. But the trick is to write a word and then another and then another and don’t stop no matter how much you want to.

  • That’s the secret right there, Patty! Don’t stop no matter how much you wAnt to. One word at a time. I guess another secret is to set a REALISTIC goal – which is something I have not done. Your 1,000 words per day sounds doable without being overwhelming. I just might set a goal now at 2 pages per day. Whatever the wordcount. That seems doable, too, yes? 🙂

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