One of the things I enjoy most about reading my friend Christina's blog are her writing updates. She always has a ton of projects going at once and she has the ability to flip from one to the other depending on which muse is visiting her (or which type of chocolate she has consumed!). Reading about her progress or how she's gotten stymied by a certain chapter or character or plot point reminds me that writing is not always a naturally linear process.
Just because I have written all of my books that way doesn't mean that this book or that story will follow the same path. Every book, every story is unique and sometimes you find the kernels of it in different ways or at different times. Let's face it, novels take a long time to write and you have to love your characters and story enough to spend a lot of time with them. Sometimes you fall out of love and sometimes you find someone new and sometimes you simply lose interest. The best surprises are those that make you re-imagine your story or character in a new way. Those are exciting moments that I live for, that I write for.
Now, on the flip side...Facebook/Twitter writing updates depress me. When I read that someone has hit a particular mark of X number of words for that day or he or she has finished X draft or X copy edits or what have you, I feel my shoulders slump. Why is that, I wonder. It's not a competitive issue at all. I have completed 8 novels and 10 short stories and I typically write between 1K and 2K words per day.
I think it's contextual. Reading Christina's progress, because she goes into greater depth and reveals her own personal feelings about her writing, her ups and downs, her happiness and disappointment, connects me more to her writing than a simple Facebook status update.
And this in turn reminds me that, more than anything else, we need a personal connection to character and story.