Word Count 6

May 1, 2009

9140 words since last Friday, with a high of 2119.

This could mean that it takes six weeks to establish a habit, or that I can do it in one, but only if I know it’s the last one. I’m not going to push it; there are four more Fridays between now and the end of May. What I do next I will schedule into that time frame.

I managed to meet my goal this week by allowing myself a free write every day. No set topic, no real purpose to the writing except to get coherent thoughts from my brain to the screen. I wandered into a couple of good ideas that way, and I may continue the practice. Towards the end I also tried to write some fiction every day, and was not as successful. I wasn’t always “in the mood.” While I know one published author who only writes “when the mood is there,” I don’t think I can trust myself to produce anything if I operate that way.

It’s time to write a novel.

There are five novels, in various stages of outline and completion, on my hard drive. The next big step is to finish one of them. NaNo notwithstanding, I don’t think I can do it in one month. By all accounts, taking a novel from Once-upon-a-time to submission should take at least 6 months, with 12 or 24 being more likely.

I’m going to start with something easy: the oldest unfinished novel in my files. Long, long ago, I wrote about the characters and what each one’s approach to the story’s main problem would be. I’ve been revisiting them in the past week, and I’ve realized that I don’t like them much anymore. During May, I will rewrite these characters so that I can enjoy being with them for the many months to follow. I will also check on the plot and subplots, and make sure they all make sense, first, and then see if there’s anything I can do to make them more engaging.

My goal for May is to put 1,000 words towards this new project per day, focusing (but not exclusively) on preparatory work such as character biographies. 1,000 more can go anywhere: blog, free write, another story, etc.

I’m not trying to work myself to death. I just know that lack of variety will bore me, and I want to make noticeable progress on the novel. If last month is any indication, I am going to struggle or hit a snag somewhere. Even if I can achieve this one consistently from the start, it may take more than one month to finish the prep. I’ll keep you up to date.

I have a correction to my post on April 22. I misunderstood my fiance when he said it took him only 6 days to level up to 60 in Warcraft. “It took me about 10 weeks to get a character to 60, not 1 week. 6 days played means 144 hours at the computer.” And we still had about two dates per week during that time. My computer nerd has mad romance skillz.

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