By mid-week last week I had written 1798 words on the novel (total: 72341) and was making decent progress, when I made a strategic error. One morning I took a notion to work on an old story that needs a bit of editing and revision before I can publish it. It is a story I wrote some years ago, and it’s set in a different world than either “Last Night” or the novel I’m writing now.
And that was a mistake because I couldn’t get my mind back into the novel after working in this other world. So that’s my personal lesson from last week: don’t try to switch fictions, because you are not capable of that.
I’ve taken a few days away from both and intend to stick with the novel until this draft is done. I have to get through it, and I’m already behind on my goal. Not hugely behind, but a few thousand words. And the book is turning out to be longer than I’d expected, in addition. That’s something I have to work with, since it can’t be stopped while drafting. But no more getting my mind off-balance! Okay then.
Yes, we have a spring rain today. I filled the bird feeder and brought my tomato seedlings back inside so they don’t catch a chill. I’m still waiting to make the new raised beds for them, since it’s been too soggy to dig so far.
But I have done a little bit of writing. Only 868 words last week, for a total of 70543 on the novel. Not sure why I felt so stuck, but I did. This week is better already.
I aim for slow-but-steady, and I’ve made progress. Already this year I’ve written more than all of last year, and last year I didn’t write at all until November’s NaNoWriMo challenge. That’s when I started the novel I’m working on now.
I’m happy to slowly increase my word counts, but that’s not how the most successful indie authors work. I wanted to point out two different threads over at the KBoards Writers Cafe, where two different authors, who have both sold a ton of books to many happy readers, talk about their process as working writers. Both write like crazy, more hours a day than I can imagine. Both give clear and challenging descriptions of how to publish and promote multiple novels a year, and why readers love it.
The first thread is from Elle Casey, How I write so many books. The second is by Russell Blake, How to Sell Loads of Books. If you want to learn how the pros work, read through these threads.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing. And maybe tomatoes soon.
After two slow weeks, I had what is, for me, a good writing week. 3022 words done, for a total of 69443 on the novel. Very satisfying.
It is hard for me to tell, when I have these tough writing periods, whether I’m actually procrastinating or scared to write, or whether my sub-brain is working out plot details without telling me. Sometimes it seems like both, and I don’t know until some story parts finally burst through.
Weather has turned lovely here, and my tomato seedlings look great. I need to do some digging this week, as well as some writing. Fingers and toes crossed for a productive week on all fronts.
Over the past two weeks, I have only written 2331 words total. The novel stands at 66421 words, and the non-fiction at 4865. So I am not getting done what I need to get done.
Still, this is another week, and I will write some more. Aiming for a lot more, and have high hopes. I know that getting through the last quarter of this book is hard, and always was going to be hard. But there’s no way but through.
Pretty ordinary week last week, with 2201 words written, all on the novel. Total words stand at 64591 now.
Laying out the plot in a spreadsheet is working well for me, and I think from now on I’ll have a worksheet ready as I begin a story. I am what we generally call a “pantser”, in that I write by the seat of my pants and don’t outline before I begin. I usually start with a character or two, a location, and maybe a general sense of what might happen, but honestly I have to write my way into the story. I can’t see it from outside.
But novels are really long, and they have a lot of moving parts to keep track of, so by the middle I feel pretty bogged down and uncertain where I’m going. Keeping track with a list of scenes, chapters, characters, and so on, helps me see where I’ve been. Then I continue figure out where I’m going.
Anyway, on to another week of slugging my way through to the finish. I’m slowly getting the parts nailed down.
Ugh! WordPress ate the post I wrote!
So: short recap: wrote 2245 words on the novel, so up to 62390 words, and also wrote 434 on the nonfiction book for a total of 4698. See widgets for daily updates.
Also: it’s spring gardening season, and I love gardening. So, off to dig in the dirt. That is all.
From Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds, a list of 25 Ways To Be A Happy Writer.
25. Finish Your Shit
Every time you fail to finish your work, a little girl loses another kitten. A unicorn loses his horn and becomes a regular stupid old horse. A sweet old lady chokes on her dentures. But worst of all, every time you fail to finish your work it wears another small hole in your soul. You can feel it there — that ragged tear in your cloth, wind whistling through the gap. Because you know what it means. You’re giving up. Giving in. Handing over the keys. Letting the terrorists that are your Doubt and Fear and Uncertainty win. You know what all the books published and movies made and comics inked have in common? Someone finished what they started. And finishing will give you a bliss-boost. All your happiness circuits will fire like a 21-synapse-salute. Even if it’s not the best thing you’ve written. Even if it’s the worst.
Because the best thing you never finished is always less than the worst thing you did.
Emphasis added by me. Go read the whole list. It’s excellent.
That’s what I’ll do today. I’ve printed out my last three chapters and need to read through them again. Then I’ll write some more.
Last week was light on words. 1822 words written, for a total of 60145. I’m happy to pass 60k at least, and continue on towards the end.
The middle of a book is definitely the hard part to write. Everything that looked shiny and interesting when you began turns dull and dross, and for me at least I have to fight a constant battle to maintain any sort of confidence about my ability to finish. Other projects jump up and beckon. They are shiny now, why not write them? But that would be a disaster, because inevitably when you jump to a new book, and then once again get to the middle, you find it becomes as unlovely as the last one. It’s a passage that seems to happen every time. The only way through is through…
“Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.”
― C.S. Lewis
Word count was on the low side of normal last week, 2206 words for a total of 58323. I’ve been aiming for roughly 75,000 words, and let me tell you that’s a lot of words for a slow writer like me. But as I sketch out the last scenes I’ve come to realize that the book may stretch out longer than expected, to maybe 90,000 words. So I’m going to adjust the writing bar to that longer word count and accept that this thing is going to run on for a while more.
The sad part is that it may still come down to 75,000 words in the end, since there are sub-plots and scenes that I may cut or throw out entirely. But as I said to some friends last week, I have to write the words down before I can throw them out. That’s just the way it is. For now, instead of being 78% done, I’m back to 64% done. Where this will truly end, who can say? Not I. Not this week, at least.