September 2nd, 2007

View from study (sunny)

Writing targets -- IWriSlMo 1 Sep - 21 Dec 07

After failing abysmally to meet my summer goals, I will try again for this new Autumn period.

Initially my target is to write something (even one word!) every day. I want to build up to a steady pace of 3 pages on non working days and 1 page on working days. This is perfectly doable if I can just make myself sit down with a pen in my hand and start writing.

This year has left me in a very odd state of mind and it's just not conducive to writing. It doesn't help that I have a couple of weeks of hectic activity before everything settles down into something resembling a routine. Until that happens, it's difficult to find a good slot for writing.

Oh, after thinking about it, I suspect that going back to the beginning and rewriting would be a really bad idea. So I'm just going to scribble a few notes about changes to one scene and I'm going to plough on. I may as well try writing what matociquala calls a "wrong draft", which is probably similar to John Braine's first rough draft. Once you have that, you then work out what the story really is and then rewrite from the beginning. This novel just wants to be written differently, that's all.

I've also been thinking about khiemtran's post here about "ten years to mastery". I have, of course, been writing for a lot longer than 10 years, so at first it seems dispiriting. If I haven't made it yet, perhaps I should just give up? Or should I? Looking at it another way, it's a bit like building up flying hours. If you can write every day for 52 weeks a year, then turning out 1 a book a year would be no problem. Ten years would be 10 books or about 1 million words1. But if, like me, you've worked full time, raised two children and done a degree, then I probably haven't yet put in anything like 10 years worth of full-time writing. I have only finished 3 novels to submission level and written a handful of short stories and a few bits of novels that went nowhere. Basically I have another 6-7 novels to go before I can claim that I'll never be good enough.

This is encouraging -- I think!

1 Which is probably where the "1 million words of crap" comes from, but this is a phrase I've never liked. One doesn't write crap (even though it might turn out to be crap with the benefit of hindsight and improved writing skills). One writes as well as one can but it takes time to master the craft.