Back on track.

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence,

is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Winston Churchill

“There’s a word for a writer who never gives up: published.”

J. A. Konrath

     (I don’t ordinarily use pictures that have text pasted on them, but c’mon… that is just too cute.)

     I feel very good.  I’m broke, jobless, and unpublished, but I feel very good.  I’ll tell you why: I got past the hump.  I hate that word, the ‘hump,’ but we writers all know what it means.  It’s when you get to that point in your story that you just really don’t know how to proceed.  For me, that was in the first 3,000 words.  I had written them about a week ago or something (seriously, I have no concept of time anymore – I’m awake from about 4pm to about 6am), and after I’d written them, I watched a movie and went to sleep (at this point around 2pm).  When I woke up, I was excited to get writing again.  My secret goal is to write north of 5,000 words in a single day.  Since I’m writing from a very detailed outline, I thought that would be easy, but so far the most I’ve managed is about 2,700.  So when I looked at my work, rereading to get my place before I started, it sucked.  It was horrible and cheesy and cheap.  Not at all what I wanted.

     I already told this part of the story here:  That’s not my voice.  –but I figured I should reiterate this little bit before continuing.

     So yes, I feel very good.  I got past the hump.  A couple nights ago, I sat down and did a little rewriting – just the opening “radio segment” (yes, my novel begins with a radio segment) and then a few paragraphs to start out with.  Not much, but it was much better than what I’d originally written.  Still, I was only 780 words in to the 2,700 mark I’d originally reached.  Then last night I sat down again and decided I wasn’t going to do anything else until I’d gotten at least 1,000 words further.  I wrote about 800 new words and then edited another 600 of material from the original work to fit the rewrite, for a total of 1,400 words in about an hour (55 minutes to be exact – I started keeping a writing journal).

     My style and “voice” has changed completely.  It helped that I was listening to “Society,” by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, instead of “The Kill,” by 30 Seconds to Mars.  In any case, I made it.  Though I’ve got less words in the new version, I’m past the point I originally reached in the plot, and it’s “clear sailing” from here.  I look back on what I’ve written now, and while it’s still not perfect, it’s quality first draft material.  I like what I’ve written and it gets me closer to the point where I can scrap the first draft and start fresh on a second with a much clearer idea of where I’m going.

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3 thoughts on “Back on track.

  1. Congrats! Which novel is this?

    I keep a writing log too. I don’t keep track of times/word counts usually, but I log what project I worked on and what kind of work. For example…

    NOVELS – Alaidia (notes, drafts)
    FEATURES – Luke’s Closet (notes)

    Etc. That way I can loosely track my progress. Am I writing each day? What projects am I working on? What projects haven’t gotten touched in awhile? And so on.

    I think it’s a good idea to keep at least a loose track of your writing, if for no other reason than it motivates you to write consistently. (Or, if you’re not writing consistently, you’re gonna know about it.)

    That was a rabbit trail. All of that to say, great post, as usual.

  2. Thanks. This was for The Long Road, my “literary crime thriller.” An excerpt from my writing journal from last night:

    “May 31, 2011-
    Start at 8:35pm.
    Word count – 780
    Starting page – 6

    PROGRESS REPORT.
    It’s 8:48pm (13min) and I’m at 925 words now. That’s 145 written tonight so far. Had to stop briefly to come up with a new name for Thomas (antagonist), who is now called Glen.
    It’s 9:05pm (30min) and I’m at 1,223 words. That’s 443 in the past half-hour.
    It’s 9:30pm (55min) and I’m at 2,262 words. The last bit was almost completely edited material from document-“TLR Old 2 (revised)”. It took a little editing, but I liked the flow and affection of the scene between Dean and Karen, so I kept it. Taking a break now. 1,483 words done for the day, though some were edited, so this isn’t a “real” day’s work.”

    I like to jot down notes about my writing, as it keeps me focused and provides me a very, very short break while writing to stop and mark down the time and how much, and of what, I’ve done. I’m still experimenting with the entire idea, but I think the important thing, like you said, is to use it as motivation.

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