Tuesday, July 13, 2010

v2, d116: 500 Words Away

Ah, discipline. I hate thee.


I'm writing daily now. Well, rewriting daily. Which is kinda harder. I've had this novel lying around for over a year now, and I've got enough support to rewrite it from people whose opinions I respect that I've got no excuse not to get it done. The thing is, though, I've never really rewritten anything. Even in college, my changes from first draft to final were pretty minimal. A tweak here, a misplaced comma there, and done. This is so totally different. This is a story. I enjoy writing stories far more than I enjoyed writing research papers, but my passion is generally in writing new stories, not revisiting ones I've already told. I've rewritten a few scripts, but those are fairly simple documents. Dialogue, a little bit of stage direction, done. And again, those have always been one-to-three-day projects. I start rewriting, boom, I'm done rewriting. Let's go get a milkshake.

In other words, I've generally been a hobby-writer, not a writer by trade. (Although, according to last year's tax forms, I am a self-employed playwright--thanks again, Eldridge!)

This is different. This is important. But this requires more from me than I've committed before to any artistic project. No more sprints; this is prepping for a marathon. This is writing when I don't want to write. It's the hope that one day, something I can do will mean we won't have to worry about how we're going to cover the bills for the rest of the year. It's the determining factor in whether or not I'll look back in thirty years and wonder what I could have done had I actually thrown my all into it.

Oh, and it's kinda hard. I don't like hard.

So here's the game plan: (At least) five-hundred words every day. Not a tough goal, but this is baby steps for me. The first draft of the book was something like 75,000 words. I'm sure (I hope!) there are going to be portions of the narrative that will not require massive overhaul. (I know the entire first quarter of the book needs more work than an Oklahoma state highway) But I also know there are some ideas that will require some expansion to make this a more coherent story and a better launching point from where I'd like the series (yes, series) to go. Plus, I plan to take one day a week off. Six days shall ye do work, and all that. So, I'm aiming for four to five months to take care of this project.

That means I might be online to chat a lot less. I love you, the Internet, but you make it really tough for me to stay focused. I plan to see a little less of Facebook/Twitter. With a job, a family, and a shred of a social life, I only have so many hours open to work.

So far, so good. But then, I'm only three nights into this routine. We'll see how excited I am about it in five weeks.

In the meantime, I've got a load of dishes to do, and then I'm only 500 words away from bed.