I write at a slow pace.
I’m not always thrilled by that fact, but it’s a fact nonetheless. I write at a slow pace. There are a couple reasons for this:
The first is that I’m the mother of three; the oldest is not yet seven, and the youngest is two weeks away from her first birthday. Between bus schedules, homework, visits to Grandma, resetting the modem so Netflix works, dirty diapers, bottles and finger foods, night terrors, and lullabies, it’s amazing some days if I find the time to jot down a sentence or two, let alone crank out several thousand words. And that doesn’t even touch on housework, laundry, grocery shopping, etc.
The second is that I deal with chronic pain issues, and as I’ve mentioned several times before, live with depression and anxiety. Often there are days when I simply am not in the proper frame of mind to write; my brain just won’t cooperate. I can sit there–in my bed, on the couch, or at my desk–and lecture myself on how I should be writing, I need to finish this project or that, a deadline is fast approaching and I might miss it. I even know where I want the story to go, or how I want it to end; I just need to sit down and do it. But some days–a lot of days–I just can’t.
Branching off of this is the fact that most of the fiction I write deals with mental illness of some sort. My writing is chalk-full of emotions–often negative–and darkness. I somehow manage grab hold of my own inner demons and wrestle them onto the page, where they become my characters. My heroes, my villains, my victims. They go through a lot … because I go through a lot.
That being said, it can be emotionally and psychologically draining to write sometimes. Often times, I will have an awesome day where I get in the zone and manage to type out several thousand words, ten pages or more of a story. The writing is good, the emotion is there, the story is going exactly where I want it to go. I can be so close to the end. Just one or two more scenes, and I’m done. But often, I won’t get done for another week or more. Because after such a long and exhaustive session, I need time–usually days–to recuperate.
And I refuse to force the story out. I know enough of myself as an author, and am confident enough in the stories I tell, to know that when a story is ready to be written–or finished–I will write or finish it. Trying to force it out, just for the sake of saving time, alters the story irrevocably. And never for the better.
So, yes. I write at a slow pace. Many times I see several of the authors around me announcing a new work, and it’s their third novel of the year, or fifth short story submission in three months, and I have to remind myself not to get frustrated. To not feel jealous … or more importantly, inadequate. I am not another author. I am me. Briana Robertson. Madam Reaper. My writing is mine, and it’s good, and it’s that way because I stay true to myself and the process that works for me.
I don’t rush. I don’t cheat myself. And I don’t cheat you, my readers. You, as an audience, deserve the best I can give. And the best I can give takes time.
It’s that simple.
As Shakespeare once said, “To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.”
With that, I leave you all to your fantastic evenings. I have an email date with my editor. Because the first draft of “Baby Grand” is finally finished–later than I hoped, but better for the delay–and is ready to be perfected. I can’t wait for you all to read it!
~~Briana Robertson, Author, Stitched Smile Publications
Briana Robertson excels at taking the natural darkness of reality and bringing it to life on the page. Heavily influenced by her personal experience with depression, anxiety, and the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, Robertson’s dark fiction delves into the emotional and psychological experiences of characters in whom readers will recognize themselves. Her stories horrify while also tugging at heartstrings, muddying the lines of black and white, and staining the genre in multiple shades of grey.
In 2016, Robertson joined the ranks of Stitched Smile Publications. Her solo anthology, “Reaper,” which explores the concept of death being both inevitable and non-discriminatory, debuted in early 2017. She also has stories included in “Unleashing the Voices Within,” by Stitched Smile Publications, “Man Behind the Mask,” by David Owain Hughes, Jonathan Ondrashek, and Veronica Smith, and “Collected Easter Horror Shorts” by Kevin Kennedy.
Robertson is the wife of one, mother of three, and unashamed lover of all things feline. She currently resides on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, with a backyard view of the Saint Louis skyline, and is a member of the Saint Louis Writers Guild.