This is just getting silly! ANOTHER month has slipped by and we’re now running towards the end of the year – when did that happen? So the ridiculously ambitious challenges I set myself at the start of the year, aided and abetted by my partner in crime Mhairi Simpson, are winding up, or down (depending on where you are standing). The idea was that if I set myself stupid-crazy goals and failed, I would still be further ahead than I would have been if my targets had been more sensible. What can I say? It was very, very late and we’d been drinking a LOT of strong tea…
• Breathing Space continues to throw me major curved balls. After the shenanigans at the start of the novel, when I ended up telling FAR too much, as opposed to showing the action – I’d got into the groove and had started congratulating myself on the steady progress I was making. When it all slid away in Chapter 19 and I wrote a left turn that wasn’t in the plan. I’m normally reasonably laid back about such a development – but this is the last book in a trilogy and I need to have all the major plotlines sorted out in 20,000/30,000 words’ time. And this is a MAJOR detour. So should I scrap all this hindbrain stuff and stick to the plan? Or go with the flow?
I stomped around feeling grumpy and off balance for a couple of days, while I debated what to do. Angry internal dialogues raged – I should be getting some RIGOUR in my writing! It’s all very well ‘trusting your creative instincts’ but is that going to cut it in a professional career? I am writing this book to a schedule and have undertaken to have the whole trilogy ready to be published by next July – what am I playing at, allowing a major new development with a character who will be my science fiction private investigator for – hopefully – a reasonably long-running series? However, one of the advantages in having written a ridiculous number of books is that I do know my own writing process reasonably well. And I decided to allow this development to run for the duration of the chapter and see whether it would be able to be tucked back under the control of the main plotline – and sure enough, by the middle of Chapter 21, I saw daylight emerging… Have to say – each novel is an adventure which doesn’t get any less exciting or white-knuckled.
Challenge – to have the first daft of Breathing Space completed by the end of the year. I think I should have the book finished by the end of next month – whether I’ll be a gibbering wreck by that stage is more debatable. This book has posed some interesting, gnarly issues…
• Nailed. Which isn’t surprising as this was the only challenge that didn’t really matter all that much.
Challenge – to write and publish 100 book reviews on my blog during 2014. I wrote another 14 reviews during October, taking my yearly target to date to 106 reviews. Those of you who kindly follow my blog know that I also posted my 555th blog this month.
• We have now reached half term and the course is going well. I am planning to make next term’s course more interactive with more time devoted to writing exercises – and I have also worked out what topics I want to cover next year, which is always handy…
Challenge – to have written at least two sets of course notes for the next academic year by the end of the summer break. Still hoping to have the Spring Term’s course notes written by the end of the month – although I have just taken on a major teaching commitment until Christmas that might derail this one.
• I’m refusing to beat myself up over this one. It’s been a major issue throughout the year – doing this mad exercise has thrown up a couple of big roadblocks to my writing career – and this is one of them… So I am now aware of just what a problem this is – next step is to devote a chunk of realistic time to address it.
Challenge – submit all my unsold short fiction and poetry. No.
Another interesting month. Breathing Space has certainly provided more than its fair share of excitement. That said, I managed to write 18,600 words this month, bringing the overall word count to just over 106,000 of the first draft – though I’ve junked around 30,000 words of that total. I also wrote 2,400 words on admin for my Creative Writing courses and around 10,600 words towards reviews and articles for the blog – this brought my monthly wordcount to just over 31,750 words and my yearly total to date to just over 258,900 words. I don’t think I need to necessarily work harder – but certainly a whole lot smarter… And that’s going to be my focus for next year.