Monday, 7 March 2016

Weekend catchup and a mood filter

I intended to write this blog entry yesterday but never managed to get enough time, or to be honest I preferred the idea of spending the whole evening with my wife and not on this keyboard. I may have this writing bug but it doesn't trump that - it never will. Prior to the evening I did have a decent amount of writing time while my wife was working on her music.

It was successful too. I had my second most productive day of 2016, adding 5,289 words to the YA Supernatural novel I've been working on for the past month. That last statement by the way was telling. I started writing the Stairs Lead Down on February 6th. As of yesterday it is one month old. In that month I have written 48,496 words on this novel.

It could have been more. I wrote the introduction to what might be the next novel while it was in my head. That came to 1,495 words. If I were to add that in I come up 11 words short of 50,000. That sounds a little suspiciously like the NaNoWriMo target I missed back in November. It's kind of strange. Back in November I put so much pressure on myself to reach that figure that I missed it.

This past month on this novel I did it without trying - and that's with 8 days of not writing at all thrown in. I don't sweat it these days. I learned that from November. Write when you have the time and try to remember to enjoy it. Writing can be fun. Having ideas pop into your head is a thrill. I have to admit it. It just is. Getting them down into some kind of logical, readable form takes work but there's a satisfaction there too. Seeing it all down on the page, seeing the word count increase, to get closer and closer to that final "The End"; it's a slog, but an enjoyable one.

I get the occasional time of self doubt. I lose confidence and think that no one will ever want to publish my novels. But I guess anyone would. Not having had a book published yet makes this all still a little, well...out there. It's an, as yet, unreached goal. Will it ever be reached? Well, I hope so.

I've had some positive feedback. Some of the publishers and agents I've submitted to have replied with more than just a form letter with very complimentary statements regarding my work. Unfortunately these have all come with reasons why they would not be taking my stories. One went as far as saying it was good enough for publication but I'd chosen to write in a field that is not selling at the moment. (She said that twice - once for my horror novel and once for my alternative history novel.)

But without a YES. Without an offer or a contract it can be hard to maintain commitment. You start to wonder whether you are just wasting time. After all I'm not getting any younger. Should I be spending quite this much time alone with just a screen and a keyboard inventing fake lives and non existent places and events if no good might come of it?

Compelling argument; I have spent a lot of time at this already. But the dream is still just about winning the internal debate. My wife also helps boost it a little. Without her I really would be nothing. I probably drive her insane with all my angst and self-doubt. Fortunately she hasn't throttled me yet. It might just be because she would have to deal with the spiders on her own if she did. If it is I am grateful to each one of their eight legs for keeping me alive.

I'm rambling. I'm aware of it. I do this often as anyone who reads this far in each blog entry will know. For all my hiding behind pseudonyms I don't seem to have a problem opening up here. Anyway the point is I am optimistic still. I am filled with a drive to get this novel finished and to get the next written, and the one after that and so on. Might even throw a novella or two in there as well. I have enough ideas of how to torment Ben Williamson I could release one a month until 2020.

That's an odd last statement. People will think I have something against my recurring character. I don't. I just wanted an everyman around whom I could have weird things happen. A 48 year old accountant from the Midlands of England seemed a perfect candidate. He's not based on anyone in particular, although I do recognise certain of his traits from old friends and former colleagues. They weren't deliberate copies but I guess you can only invent from your own experience so I must accept they are likely inspirations. If they ever find out I will have to apologise. Maybe they might find it complimentary. Who knows?

Anyway, I'm still on track to get this first draft done by the end of the month or so. I need to do another 32K according to the plan and my wife has a good deal of music to write/rehearse/play in that time so I should have a shot at making it.

Wish me luck. (In submissions as well as word count targets).

More soon

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