Quick explainer: For those of you who don’t know yet, I am writing my second book HIM and have staggered my word count goals this time. If you sign up to the mailing list you get to read the first draft. If you don’t you just get this update on whether I hit my goals or not each week.
Word count goals these past two weeks: 10,000
Actual word count these last two weeks: 2686
Total word count so far: 6971
Total word count goal at this point: 25,000
How long did it take me? At least 6 hours but I am unsure.
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What have I learnt?
- That I am still overestimating how much I can do and how much energy I have. There is no energy left over when I am mentally tired. So yes I missed two weeks. My apologies. I was away on secret union business (not so secret but just confidential and it was all voluntary but I care about the publishing and media industry becoming an awesome place to work in so I had to go and try to do things, ok?) and basically I wasn’t sleeping very well at all in Sydney and was exhausted and I don’t think I managed to recover very well the week after (last week) as well. So sorry for missing an update and apologies for not writing as much and my apologies if you got weird scheduled posts from me with nothing in them – I try to set up as much as I can in advance which backfires occasionally in situations like these.
- Despite lagging behind on the word count front, I am still really keen to go ahead and do this and unlike with Sedition, it doesn’t seem to matter as much if I am not making the April deadline for the first draft. Part of this is because you know maybe it is daft to expect me to write something creative and awesome in about three months right after taking 10 years on the previous project – maybe you can’t go straight from ten years to three months but maybe you can go from ten years to six months – clearly baby steps are required here and I am still figuring out this story as I go.
- The other reason I am really cheered to keep on going with this is because my friends and other people I meet are starting to come on board and sign up to read the updates and so on, so clearly this is a slow build. I am still a bit anxious that not everyone understands that this is the horrible first draft and not some weird wonderful polished version of the story – I am trying to not write myself into corners here people and it is very difficult to not to do so without going down the path of editing like mad. So I will say it again: THIS IS THE HORRIBLE FIRST DRAFT VERSION OF HIM SO PLEASE HELP ME MAKE IT BETTER. Already it is becoming a slightly different book to what I previously imagined. And what would be great would be if some of my writer and editor friends got on board – I am looking at you, you know who you are. Like seriously, you out of anyone could see the pitfalls and let me know of them.
- A lot of people keep saying this is a brave thing to do, often in the tone where there is a hint of “and possibly foolhardy” tacked on but unsaid. We will see. Hopefully not too foolhardy.
What distracted me?
- See above. The aforementioned secret union business and some general exhaustion and running around to debrief people and set up things.
- I imagine Sophie to be around mid to late twenties but sometimes I do wonder because she seems to be spooked by the smallest things and I wonder if this is realistic or not for a mid to late twenty something year old and I spend a lot of time sometimes deliberating on that. I do like her as a character, I think she is very likable but clearly she has not thought much about certain things and as a result certain things changing in often very small ways seem to unsettle and jolt her in a way that perhaps they would not unsettle and jolt her and she herself comments on this – on the fact that the things she worries about seem silly and stupid and therefore why would anyone else care two hoots about her worries? My view on this is that sometimes the smallest things change us the most and sometimes in the weirdest, quietest, almost fading into the background ways and moments and therefore perhaps they are not to be discounted necessarily in a plot in a story. The narrative can revolve around the tiniest of things rather than a larger dramatic change – the drama comes from the character. And therefore since this is Sophie’s story, if Sophie reacts to one thing when someone else would not, then that’s what matters. That being said, while I do think that, I also am still not finding the process of writing that as confident as I would like it so I do stop and spend time thinking and deliberating. And then I go “horrible first draft” to myself and keep writing.
- “Horrible first draft” is not intended to be self depreciating at all – sometimes people I am writing with or speaking to about the ideas in the book jump in and try to tell me not to say that but the reason I do so is to remind myself that this is the stage where I get the story down in words. It isn’t the stage where the words have to be awesome – they don’t have to be. They just need to tell the story. So it is the horrible first draft now – it will be rewritten and edited and prettified later. Once it is done. So at some point I need to stop deliberating and keep writing. But I do get distracted by the deliberating and by people then getting concerned at my mutterings.
What did I write about this past week?
The random distribution of horoscopes, why routines and schedules equate to survival and how one knows if the world has gone awry. But also about how much we don’t notice or think about and then how softly and quietly things can change around us.