Another busy week. Aren’t they all? (Which gives me a great idea for Thursday Trenches.) I edited 13 out of 24 days, so I’m keeping ahead of the pace, even if it’s just a little. I think I’m roughly 2/3 through the novel. I also wrote 9,919 words so far this year, which is 1500 words ahead of the pace. So far, the year is off to a good start.
Other than that, not too much going on. Like most everyone, we’re in the midst of the cold and snow, so we stayed inside and hung out with the kids all weekend. It was a lot of fun. I’m reading through Booklife and Crossing the Line, both of which I’m enjoying for different reasons. What kept you busy this last week?
Nike had it right. Just do it. There needs to be a little more to it as well.
I started to seriously write around 2006. I was going to follow the dream of becoming a writer! Unfortunately I also got caught up in “I write, therefore I am.” I was writing. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But there was no real focus to it. I wrote mostly short stories at the time, and joined Liberty Hall Writers. (A new challenge every week, it’s a great way to get yourself started.) I was getting feedback on my work and really improved my writing during my time there.
I also came to realize that I wanted to focus more on longer fiction. Toward the end of my time there, I was rarely getting a story finished because it would develop into something much longer. I turned my focus toward novel length fiction which was truly my intent all along.
So Just Do It, but with a purpose. Set realistic goals, then do everything you can to reach them. Also when you’re setting short term (daily/weekly) goals, keep in mind how that will move you toward your long term goals. In 2011 I started to keep track of my daily goals and saw my production increase considerably. I was making a real discernible effort to meet my goals. Now I have five novels completed and I’m mid-way through the sixth.
I’ve said it before, and I will probably say it again. Daily goals can keep you moving. Just 100 words a day can see you with a novella in your hand by the end of the year. 300 words a day (roughly one page) can see you with a full blown novel in your hands. Grab one of the free tools (Google Drive, LibreOffice), create a spreadsheet, and keep track of your goals. You’ll see real progress by the end of the year.
There is nothing super exciting over this last week to report. I’m a day ahead of schedule so far on the word count and I’ve edited 9 of 17 days. I’ll take that ratio. I’d be happy with editing 5 days out of the week, but that doesn’t always work out.
We had a pretty chill weekend this weekend. Well, after my daughters birthday party anyway. That was fun, but another milestone birthday, so to speak. It’s simultaneously exciting and scary. She’s growing up to be an amazing young woman. All the while, she’s still growing up!!!
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I meant to write this post yesterday. Really, I did. Pretty sure we all know what ‘they’ say about good intentions. If not, feel free to make up your own saying about good intentions.
Anyway, the year is drawing to a close here. 2 weeks left. As usual, this is a time for retrospection of the previous year, and plans for the new year.
I met my writing goals for the year. I finished one novel and started another. And really, the novel that I did finish is the culmination of all the writing I’ve done over the last ~6 years. I set out to tell that character’s story. I just had a little build up to get to that point. I created a world, built empires, turned others to dust. It’s not even close to the last story I want to tell in that world. So I keep writing.
The editing didn’t move along quite as well as I would have liked. I need to make that a higher priority in the coming year. Writing is easier for me to set goals for the coming year. While editing has more of an amorphous feel to it. I need to make this book “better”. What does that mean? Am I even capable of making it better? Still there is that uncertainty.
That’s what this is all about; telling a story. Or many stories. Breathing life into a world.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Gandalf offers Frodo this advice when Frodo wonders why he must hear the burden of the Ring.
Gandalf’s advice is aimed at keeping Frodo on his path to deliver the ring.
For me, the advice has a more practical application. As you may have guessed given the content of this blog, I’m referring to writing. Everyone one of us has the same 24 hours available. Our responsibilities may differ but it still must be crammed into that time. I have a family (two children) and a full time job. There are most definitely days where I want nothing more than to just chill and do nothing. Some days all I want to do is play a video game.
(Some times I DO play video games. That’s okay too.)
I just keep reminding myself, if I want to reach my goals, it’s something I have to put the time into.
I have decided what to do with the time given me.
Yoda: Do or do not. There is no try.
Yoda gives Luke this advice as he is training to become a Jedi on Dagobah. All Luke can see is how hard everything is, how impossible it all sounds.
Luke is defeating himself, quitting before he has a chance to really succeed.
Writing is much the same. If you have decided that writing is impossible, you will never even start. If you decide that you don’t have time to write, you will never find the time to write.
Each of us has the same 24 hours to work with. Even carving out a half an hour out of the day will, in time, see a novel in your hands. It may not even be a good novel. Write the next novel. And the next.
Luke: I don’t believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail
Don’t let yourself fail. Keep writing.
There is a lot of writing advice out there. Pros and non-pros alike, with advice from every angle. Some of it is even good advice. What’s the best advice?
All other is extraneous. Writing advice is also highly individualized. What works for one person may not work for the next. It’s like Neo, you can’t be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.
Writing is much the same. Knowing about novel structure or character development is all well and good. Until you actually sit down to write, you won’t really know what works for you and what doesn’t. That doesn’t mean there is no good writing advice to read. Just temper all the writing advice you read with your own perspective.
So swallow the red pill and keep writing.