Thursday, April 12, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I hate my brain sometimes.

I had it all figured out. I’d sit down and over the course of a day turn out 3000 words. At the end of 30 days I’d have either a novel or three novellas or something ready to go. I had a list of projects to work on, stories I’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t for one reason or another. I’ve got plenty of time throughout the day. You’d think I’d be able to pull it off, right?

Guess again.

April started well. I spent the first couple days wrapping up a novella I’d been working on in March. I didn’t get 3000 words in, but I hovered in the 1500-2000 range. That’s better than I normally do. I finished the novella … and my brain cut out on me.

Just when I was ready to go, my creativity took a powder. It ducked out the door, hopped a bus and is currently lying on a beach somewhere thumbing its nose at me. I, for my part, am stuck at home with a pen and blank paper, or a keyboard and blank screen. All those ideas are still up in my brain, stuck in a holding pattern. They’re not talking to each other and they’re sure not talking to me.

When I planned this experiment, I forgot the most important part: have something ready that you really want to work on, otherwise you’re up the creek.

I tried writing the book by scenes, and the scenes went flat. I’ve got four or five novella ideas that just won’t come to life. The only thing that wants to get done right now is the novella I just finished. I wrote it longhand and went right into second draft typing. That’s zipping along just fine. I hit over 4000 words last night. Trouble is, those are mostly words I’ve already written and that’s not how I wanted to do this. So what’s a writer to do?

Luckily, somebody else stepped into the breach and proved my theory for me. Today’s blog is dedicated to Missy Martine, who whipped out a 50,000 word first draft in nine days. She figures it’ll take her about two weeks to polish it into a publishable book. I’m glad somebody was able to writer up and accomplish something this month.

The upshot is: I’m sure it’s possible for somebody to write a 90,000 word book (or three 30,000 word novellas) in the month. That somebody just isn’t me, at least not at this time. I’ve picked up my pace, though, and that’s a good thing. I’ll bet I can get that novella typed up, polished and ready to go by the end of the month. I’ll continue jotting random scenes from the one book; eventually I’ll accumulate enough to call it a finished draft. Meanwhile, an idea I abandoned a couple years back is making noises at me again. I hope that’s the one that hits because it’s set in Gettysburg, and I love Gettysburg. Any excuse to road trip to the battlefield works for me.

Anybody else who wants to try this, go for it and good luck. Just make sure you’ve got an idea or ideas lined up that are rarin’ to go. Try to force it and your brain will bail. Mr. Brain and I are going to have to have a long talk when he gets back from the beach with that tropical tan. Maybe I’ll set my next story on a desert island.


Savanna Kougar said...

Ooooh, I meant to get over yesterday, but life had a different idea that sucked.

Anyhoo, congrats to those writer/authors who can whip up their publishable manuscripts. I wish I could climb into their boat for awhile.

However, if I tried to force it my brain would turn renegade on me.

Pat C. said...

Exactly! I thought I could write maybe the first couple pages of a couple of somethings and see which one hit. It didn't work. My brain shut down on me because it wants me to type up and polish the one I've been working on. I learned years ago I can only work on one thing at a time, so it looks like this one's it. On the upside, if I keep to my schedule I should have a finished novella to send out at the end of the month.

After that, I may take another shot at this. With the other one finished, I'll either have a new idea in mind or be looking for one. We'll see what happens then.