Last week we were welcoming spring at a cabin in the woods. No phone, no internet, no tv. I had this idea that it would be a good week for writing, and at first, it was. The first day I made goal +half again. The second and third days, I made goal+a third again. On the fourth day, we took a really long hike and I made about three-fourths goal.The fifth – none of this is counting weekends, they were spent packing and travelling – I made about half goal.
I know why. Your sense of time is distorted when you have the feeling there is all the time in the world; time lengthens and you relax, and ideas flow. By the end of the week, the sense of not wanting to waste a minute, that sense of pressure, was coming back and it got in the way.
Writing flows best when you get to that place where your focus blocks out the things that get in the way.
And if my daughter were here, this pronouncement would be greeted with the words, Thank you, Captain Obvious.
This week, personal experience will be testing that sense of focus, whether I want it to or not. I’ve managed a few hundred words each day; not great progress, but progress. And when it is over, and I am dealing with everyday worries and interruptions again, I am determined to be the stronger for it.
I made my minimum Monday. Tuesday I hit a block. The thing with pantsing is that, sometimes, despite all of your notes, a character ends up in a place you hadn’t expected. They belong there, you can feel that there is a reason for it but you don’t know what it is. The only thing to do is step away, do something else and then come back. The reason will have become obvious by then.
I made half minimum Tuesday.
Today, I could see it and I was flying along until my laptop started flaking out. My mate, the Resident Expert on all things SF and Computer straightened things.
Next week, my schedule clears wide open for long hours of writing.
This week, I’ll do what I can.
Some days have more interuptions than others. Despite the fact that this was one of them, I made 1000 words.
My original goal was twice that much; as I re-read and revise rather compulsively as I go, getting up to speed may take some doing.
Still, progress is beiong made.
It took a little extra effort to make my lower goal of at least 1000 words. Today’s word count 1040.
My first books were sheer fantasy and there is a freedom to writing fantasy; if you need a small, venomous fish whose bite triggers hallucinations to waylay your heroine, all you have to do is describe one.
Steampunk though, is altered history, so, while you can imagine that Rufus Porter established the first “airline” in 1848, you have to pay some attention to the reality of the times. If you want his dirigibles to expand service to include a bi-weekly run to Mars, some idea as to how he managed it has to be shoe-horned in without derailing the momentum.
A system for reminding yourself to check whether or not iced tea was widely available in 1893 or what year the Japanese national anthem was composed – incidentally, yes, and 1868 – becomes indispensable.
And while using research as an excuse to read a book you can’t otherwise justify has its pleasures, it is possible to feel a bit “bogged down”, maybe even just a bit tired of it all.
Committing myself to punching through the “bog” has paid off. I’m rediscovering how much I love this story, how utterly insane, fallible, noble and human its characters are.
I’m remembering why I do this. Word count for the day 1070 words.
I did quick estimate on the possible length of All Points South – the work in progress for boot camp. I have about 38K words and I figure I’m about halfway there and will need about 30K to 40K more.
That would be about 10K a week. About 2K a day for 5 days of the week because I never get in 7 days.
Today I made a little over 1K.
Serious organization is going to need to happen.