Nothing useful done on the writing career this week.
Day-job was quite hard work, went out with old friends Friday afternoon, big family wedding (with 6 hours of driving attached) yesterday, which was great fun – seeing all my rellies again after ages was a real high. Â Writing took a back seat. Â Blah, blah, the sun got in my eyes, the dog ate my homework, excuses, excuses.
OK, let’s try again this upcoming week. Â I want a simple measurable target that I can hit. Â Small steps. Â I don’t want to be giving you more excuses next weekend. Â One thing that has Â distracted me is that my first book can’t easily be ‘written’ yet because I haven’t sketched its outline and done the structural work. Â I don’t buy the “I just start writing and see where the characters go…” line. Â That can’t possibly result in a satisfying story with clever plot, carefully managed tension and unknowns, finally resolving in a “Wow! I didn’t see that coming – nice one!” moment. Â Without an outline, I think the story would be a wandering chat, rather than something that’s worth the money. Â The simplest targets, though, are ones I hear from other sites and books: write 500 words a day, write 1000 words a day. Â I think this only works when the structure is in place (and exciting) and the ‘filling out’ stage begins.
So. Â Here’s what I’ll try this week: getting a simple outline of the three books written up; getting a slightly deeper outline of the first book written up; 100 (yes, only 100!) words of dialogue or description written each day that might never make it into the book, but at least gives me some practice and gets me going. Â I usually write N thousand words a day on day-job emails and presentations, so 100 for my authoring future should be doable. Â If I can get to a regular 100 words a days PLUS some outlining, I’ll be making headway 🙂
Yep, I’m going to do some writing today!
Well, outlining anyway. I want to have a compelling story idea before I get into writing the first draft. I’ve had an idea for a trilogy of stories around cyber security (a very topical subject soon, if I get going fast enough to catch it). I’ll do some more work on it today and update this post accordingly.
Didn’t make it because I trashed my blog by moving it. Â Also, I was reading a great new book which has kicked off some new ideas for stories around Artificial Intelligence.
I’ve nearly finished reading The Slight Edge. Last night’s bit of wisdom was around writing down your goals and re-reading them every day to keep your mind focused on moving towards them. Seemed very sensible, as usual.
I was thinking it would be great to have a small number of these goals (finance, family, health, etc) and see them up on a dashboard, showing progress towards them. I already record my resting heart-rate and blood pressure on a spreadsheet each week to see if I’m going to live to the next measuring session (all good at the moment BTW), but I don’t have a single place where all that could be looked at regularly: did I make time for Mrs. B, or just work like a slave all week? Did I get any further with writing my first book, or just read even more about how to write well?
One of the other key bits of this book is developing good habits which will get you to those goals. I’ve heard full-time writers aim at 1500 – 2000 words a day of good, edited, prose. Someone starting up might be aiming at 500 words a day, if they also have a day job. I’m thinking of going for 100 words to start with, just so I know I’ll be able to do it regularly, then build up from there.
Spending a few days off at home. Â It’s great to not be rushing around or travelling from/to some business meeting in the car or train.
Weather is not playing ball with this plan, though; it’s still cold and windy in Gloucestershire. Â Mrs B and I are sitting around in dressing gowns with an iPad and a Macbook instead of striding around in the country getting fitter and healthier.
We have two colonies of honeybees which are still in winter hibernation. Â They should have been out foraging in February some time and the weather’s kept them in. Â They need a temperature of over 10 C (50 F) to come out properly, and their stores must be nearly depleted now. Â I hope they survive until the weather cheers up next week.
No excuse not to do some writing (or at least planning) today. Â Some house DIY will be expected, but Mrs B is a lovely woman and won’t work me too hard.
I hope all of you readers had or are having some time off with family too, whether it’s Easter or some other named festival that drives it.