Writing for Cake
It’s the end of August, 2018 and this morning I was furiously typing away in order to make my August writing goal of increasing my wordcount by 18,500 words. To some this is laughable, but for me it took every shred of effort. I told myself: If you are done by 11:35 you may eat cake. I was in one of my favourite café’s and the cakes were looking divine.
I did it, I was quite early in fact. Now, there’s rough and there’s rough. But the biggest challenge for me seems to be getting words on paper. Perfectionism? I have the fear of writing it down.. committing to an idea. That constant nagging thought ‘It’s not good enough.’ It’s excruciating. And the silliest part is, I know you should ignore it and write anyway. I could teach someone else how to do this novel writing business no problem. But to follow my own advice is another matter entirely.
I felt that for August I set the bar pretty low with my goal, knowing I would be away on holiday and it’s way harder to get in the zone on a family holiday, despite all good intentions. I did some writing while I was away. Check out the view from our apartment in Sankt Johann in Tirol in the Kitzbühel Alps in Austria. To die for. But there was that part of me that just wanted to drink coffee and chill and look at those mountains, rather than grappling with this bad boy. I do love the idea of going on a writing retreat, a sabbatical of sorts where I get the book done. But would be terrified I would do the same.. procrastinate and look at the views. Now, that’s a little harsh, I don’t always procrastinate. I do get stuff done. Pats on backs where they are due, but I do like to stay vigilant and to know that getting words on paper is not always as straightforward as it seems. And it seems very straightforward. To me at least.
Catch up Time
I had planned to have my first draft done by end of June, 2018. That is a manuscript of around 80,000 words that I could call a rough start. I’m still almost 20,000 words short, so perhaps September is to catch up to that goal and get 80,000 done. The one thing to be conscious of that I learned the hard way this month is when you delete entire scenes this costs you words also. Sounds obvious, but can be very disheartening when you see your wordcount going down instead of up.
One thing I would love to know, perhaps you can help me, is how authors get over the doom feeling of ‘where is this going??’ Is it just me? Does anyone else get that? I certainly have got it in much smaller projects of short stories. And what I learned is that persistence pays. Just keep writing. I could use a Dory GIF just now but I wouldn’t like to infringe any copyright. You get the idea though. What? Who is Dory???
Thanks for reading and sharing in my journey, don’t be a stranger, I’m on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook 🙂
Are Short Stories Bright Shiny Objects for the Aspiring Novelist?
It’s the first day of August 2018, and I have had to officially ban myself from submitting or working on any short stories this month. Don’t get me wrong.. July was a blast. I submitted three short stories and learned lots while developing my craft. Exercising my writing muscles. But my targets for my novel were not reached, and it begs the question: is it useful to write short stories while writing a book? What do you think?
I think it can be because of the following:
- It sharpens up your writing as it is practice for the more significant project.
- It’s satisfying to finish a short story. A novel takes ages. It can give you hope in the midst of that deep, dense forest.
- If you do get a short story published this will look good on your bio when you are approaching other places for publication.
- In some competitions, you are forced to write in a specific genre which gets you out of your comfort zone and expands your horizons. Maybe rom-com isn’t as bad as you thought. In July I wrote a one thousand word romantic-comedy flash fiction story about a chihuahua and a bus station. It was actually a lot of fun, and there is no way I would have written it but for the competition.
- Some of the competitions offer feedback. Feedback is priceless.
On the downside though, writing short stories when you are writing a novel can pull you away from what you are doing. For me, the short story is more accessible, and therefore much more appealing. I can dive into a short story as I can see that the end is not too far away. It’s not that they are easy. Sometimes far from it, like the one I just finished that challenged me to my very writer core. But they are easier to round off, polish, and to handle. Sometimes when I am writing my novel, and I’ve said this before, I feel as though I am trying to hang an enormous parachute on a short washing line. Okay, I changed that a bit. But the fact remains to find the beginning, the middle or the end is hard.
So why would anyone want to write a novel?
Answer: I’ve no idea.
Seriously. I just know I do. For as long as I can remember.
Anyway, the day got onto the more pressing matters of how to entertain your kids during summer holidays and not feel like a failing parent that just allows them to be on screens for hours on end. We managed some art together at least. Yesterday we visited an indoor play area with a great café, and I sat and steamrolled my way to the almost-end of that very long short story I was working on. It was truly a win-win. They didn’t, however, have a power socket, so my laptop battery did die, but, like every good old-fashioned writer I carry a notebook and a pen, so it wasn’t the end of the world. The solution is, of course, to get up hideously early and get the writing done before the kids wake up. Cue #5amwritersclub – that’s where you come in. Thanks, Twitter.
So, back to the novel, how does anybody finish one? I have a goal this month that Stephen King would eat for breakfast – 18,500 words. There, now it’s said, and my confession is made about July’s attempts. Here’s to a month’s snappier novel-writing and of course, to you with whatever you want to achieve this month.
Thanks for following,
Oh, here’s a picture of me yesterday evening, practically singing and dancing for joy after finishing that long short story I mentioned. Imagine how I will look when the novel is done!!