Saturday, July 14, 2007

Keeping Me Honest

When I decided to run my first marathon, I read every article I could find about how to prepare. More than one recommended telling everyone you knew and their families about your plan. That way, on the days when you wanted another 30 minutes of sleep instead of a run, you could remind yourself that someone was bound to ask about your training. Involving others as unofficial supports and monitors gives some external pressure to what is ultimately a solitary and personal quest.

Writing is similar to long distance running in many ways and this blog has been a great way to keep me honest and focused. In fact, in a recent post, Laurie asked about my progress toward my goal of finishing my novel(s) by my birthday, which is two weeks from yesterday.

Am I going to meet my goal? Nope - not a chance. Am I upset about it? Not really, because I'm making more progress than I would have had I not set the goal in the first place. In my chick lit novel, I've written a lot of 2-page pieces, gotten better ideas about the characters, and realised that the floundering plot is what's holding me up. A little outlinging, some storyboarding, and I should be good to go. New goal - finish it before NaNoWriMo in November.

The rewrite of my first novel is both literally and figuratively another story altogether. I had a writing mentor who once confessed that when she realised she was thinking about her third novel as a boil she had to lance, walking away from it was the only option. That's how I feel about Flying Close to the Ground - I've chopped it up into all these scenes and shuffled them around and tried to find a better way to tell the story, but it's stubbornly refusing to be told. So it's time to walk away and give the story some space. We're "on a break" for at least the next few months.

I think now, for the rest of the summer and the fall, the goal is to focus on the chick lit (whose working title is Being Katie which I suspect might be a shade lame) and research and outline my NaNoWriMo book (which is going to be middle-grade fiction and I'm very excited about it).

The other thing that focusing on the goal gave me was permission to let the blog slide a bit. In a way, I think that may have improved the blog, or at the very least my attitude toward it. Instead of seeing it as a chore - something I had to do a certain number of days a week - I've been able to see it more as a privilege. Reducing the quantity has (I hope you agree) increased the quality as I only write when I really have something to say. Good thing I'm the quiet type, huh?

7 Comments:

At 14 July 2007 at 16:31, Blogger laurie said...

two weeks from yesterday. i'll try to remember that.

i loved your blog before (it was the first one i read regularly) and i love it still. has it improved? maybe, but it was good before. perhaps it's a little more thoughtful now, and more in-the-moment of what's on your mind.

i like your observations about goals. here's something i haven't told anyone else yet: i'm taking the month of august off work as unpaid leave. i have two book projects i want to work on. (one is the ernie book that i mentioned on my blog)

your posting is making me realize that a month isn't very much time, and i might not get very far. it's also making me realize that if i don't get very far, that's ok--as long as i keep pushing forward.

thanks for that.

 
At 19 July 2007 at 09:12, Anonymous Conortje said...

Your blog posts are always worth waiting for. I've no doubt you novels will be too.

 
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