Updates – 2/19/2017

Sticks and Feathers, by Ken

So many possibilities intersecting…


My novel follows a couple different major characters – let’s call them the suspect and the investigator, since there’s kind of a mystery-story element to it – and I’ve come to the point where they encounter one another and their plots begin to overlap. That means I need to be exact about the timeline, and of course I discovered that what I’ve written already is simply impossible. A character can’t be in two places at the same time, and I can’t have an event take days for one character to experience while that same event takes only hours for another character. At least, I can’t do it without changing this into an episode of Doctor Who.

So, I’ve been doing timeline work for the past few days. Frustrating, because it’s showing me just how much rewriting I’ll have to do, and also because I’ve added essentially zero words to the draft itself. But it’s important work, even if it doesn’t add to the word count.

I’m making some notes, and I’ll just proceed from the present point in the manuscript as if all the problems are fixed. I’ll get about to actually fixing them when I do a second draft. After all, I have tons of other rewrites I know I’ll need to do. Might as well do them all at the same time. Besides, I also need the psychological boost of completing a full draft of this novel.

Word count – 2/15/2017

Today’s word count: 607

I find I’m slowed down by not knowing exactly what happens next. This is partly why I’ve been building my timeline: so I can sort out just what happens in what order. And then figuring out whether that’s how the characters would actually act in those circumstances, and how much the timeline needs to change.

Word count – 2/13/2017

Today’s word count: 601

Also spent a good deal of time today working on a time calculator. That is, because the story takes place in two different worlds, where time runs differently (e.g., an hour on Baharaman is equivalent to an hour and a quarter on Earth), I’ve been trying to figure out how to determine what time it is on one world based on the time it is on the other world. I’ve got the math to work. Now I just need to figure out how to output the month names on the other world. I really don’t want to do that by hand!

Word count and update…

I mentioned before that an off-day quickly leads me to give up, because I see it as a failure and as evidence that I can’t succeed at my goals. I know in my mind that’s not true, but it’s how it feels. And feelings are pretty powerful.

I almost let it happen again. The last half of January was quite a struggle for me, for lots of reasons. But I’ve been keeping track of my writing, and I realized that I actually had done some significant writing in January: a total of 9737 words. And that was in the face of a depressive spiral.

Here’s what my writing pattern has looked like so far this year:
jan-feb

I decided to reset my goals to something more realistic. I noticed that I usually managed to write at least 500 words, but that I rarely hit 1000. So, my new goal is consistency: just write something every day. A minor stretch goal is to write at least 500 words five days a week. A major stretch goal on any given day is to hit 1000+ words.

And I’ve done that for the past two weeks. The week of 1/29-2/4, I wrote five days, crossing 500 every day and 1000 on Friday. This past week, I wrote six days, and surpassed 1000 on Thursday (actually hit 1211 words that day); granted, I wrote fewer than 200 words on Friday, but I did write something, and that’s the first level of success.

This is important because, more than churning out words, I want to build the habit of writing. And it’s like building a muscle: I have to start light and work up to heavier goals. Goal number one: just write something. Consistency builds habits.

Rest is also important. I’m taking Sunday as my “day off” – though if I happen to feel like writing, I’m not going to stop myself.

So that’s where I am today. If you’re having trouble being consistent in your writing, well, you’re not alone. Don’t be afraid to start again, and don’t be ashamed of setting realistic goals. You’ll never finish a novel if you’re holding yourself to unrealistic standards. But even one new word brings you closer to a completed story.

Word count – 1/15/2017

Today’s word count: 523

I planned today as an off day, but felt like doing some writing this evening. So I sat down without setting a goal, just to see how I would do. I petered out fairly quickly, but I’m still glad I got some words out.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting with a group to write. As I said earlier, my long-term goal is to maintain a steady pace of at least 1000 words per day, six days a week. This is the first week I’m setting 1000 wpd goals. I’m not going to let myself go much over 1000; I want to see if I can still leave myself with ideas I’m eager to start on the next day.

Thanks for your support! Just knowing I have some readers out there helps me keep at it!

Word count – 1/14/2017

Today’s word count: 964 (goal 800-900)

I got a little over-zealous today, trying to prove myself wrong. I didn’t have a writing group to meet with, but I also wasn’t able to start writing till I left the house and installed myself at a local library for an hour or so. It’s just hard to get started at home, for some reason.

Oh well. Words are words, and I’m glad I made some progress today!