Writing reboot progress report, 16 May 2014

Today I’ve been thinking a little about the future. I do this occasionally: I make big plans that, if kept to, would soon see me making a living off writing alone. Such projections rely on huge assumptions and often formulae on Excel which are believable at first but quickly become utterly ridiculous (in one, I projected that after having published 40 books I’d be earning £9m a year; I changed some of the sums in that one after that).

It’s a pointless exercise, and not just because I’ve not actual data to base my predictions on, but also because it assumes I stick to the plan, churn out novella serials and novels at a constant rate of 40,000 words a month after the current novel is done. And really, nothing changes between one exercise in pointless spreadsheeting and the next. The plan remains basically the same. Some of the details change, and some of the ideas and approaches, but it’s all focused on the money.

And then I close the spreadsheet, click “do not save” and remind myself that I need to finish something first, and by then I might have new ideas, new attitudes, better plans and fresh stories to tell – new ghosts to exorcise. And I don’t even know if what I’m writing right now is gonna be any good anyway. I’m not exactly best qualified to judge.

Still, it’s sometimes difficult to focus on the present when the present involves the day to day tedium of work, play, eat and sleep, the monthly ritual of trying to make the last £50 last a week when my car is getting low on fuel and the fridge is empty. Whereas the future holds untold riches, the house I want to build with a view of the Wrekin and my own personal library. I mean, I have my own office now, with my desk and a disappointingly small bookcase and my crochet chair, and I love it, but the imagination holds so much more potential. And sometimes it’s all too easy to sink into dreams of a near impossible future to escape the present – and the work that needs doing in the present that’s, uh, necessary to build that perfect future.

I guess I need to get better at focusing on now, and getting stuff written now, so I can build towards that future. Maybe not the £9m a year future, or even the £70,000 a year future, but maybe a future where I can look at a royalty cheque and be proud of myself and feel good about the work I do. Even if all it pays for is a week in the Lake District every year and some really nice yarn to crochet with.

So, on to the work of now, the writing of today.

My music today is 30 Second to Mars and the album This is War.

Thoughts and Plans:

Yesterday I finished with Fiarra having had a brief doze in the middle of the day and struggling to get back up again to take Laik’s lunch tray away. I was struggling with trying to work out what I’d give her to do next. I need to build Fiarra’s resentment towards Laik. I think I want to have a second day of this, maybe not the same intensity, but certainly enough work and little enough to fan the flames, before I bring in the big confrontation I’ve been planning. But that does give me more stuff I need to think of for Fiarra to get annoyed about. Messages, perhaps. Ah, I have it: banquet preparation help. I was planning on arranging for Laik to be absent from the office at lunch time because of a communal meal (instead of her usual tray in her room) but if I have it be a banquet that kills two birds with one stone – Laik is absent, and Fiarra has some difficult work to help others with in the run-up to the banquet that makes her annoyed, tired and angry.

That still leaves the afternoon’s tasks undetermined. Maybe I could extend the tasks backwards, have some early prep work needing doing like fetching ingredients from the town’s food store to the kitchen’s store, ready for use the next day. Yeah, that’ll work.


836 words. I don’t remember what time I started, but I think it was about 21:45. It’s 22:33 now, so about three quarters of an hour. Progress made. Yay. I’m not sure how interesting this stuff is. It’s flowing okay as I write it, but lots of work is hardly what I’d imagine being good reading. Oh well, I can work it out later. Time for me to sleep now.

3 thoughts on “Writing reboot progress report, 16 May 2014

  1. Big plans are always good to keep your eye on the prize, I think. However, the daily grind can certainly get to you some days.

    I’ve been slogging through this current manuscript since March and it feels like an eternity already. As I’m only getting about 30 minutes to an hour each day (and some days spent working on short stories) it seems like it will be years before I get it edited even once. But I feel like doing this work is like doing any job. You have to put the work in to get the benefits. So if there is ever a point when I want to “retire” (finish the book) then I have to keep chipping away at it.

    Just keep working on your manuscript when you can and one day you’ll look down and say, “Holy crap! It’s finished!”

    1. Yeah, that’s the plan. Progress feels pretty slow when I can only manage 500 or 800 words at a time. I guess that’s part of why I want to try a shorter format next – quicker payoff.

  2. Sounds like me. I sometimes like to plan out how I will spend my lottery money, once I win. 🙂

    As for the writing, I’m a little more realistic. At this point, I would just like to get a first draft completely written. Then, I can start planning my future as a millionaire author (just kidding…maybe). 🙂

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