January 12th, 2016


2016 Week One Update

It's been a week since I said I would write weekly updates, so I guess I'm due? Tuesday seems like a weird day to do this, but sure, why not.

Since last Tuesday, I've finished seven headers, which puts me at my goal of thirteen for the month. Yay! I also did a draft of the cover for Further Arrangements. The initial illustration looks all right, but I think I'll try a different layout for it and see how I like that.

But the big news of the last week is that I have been Hardly Writing again.

I go through various phases in regards to writing, in no particular order and for no special reason.

* Not Writing At All: Sometimes because I'm busy with other things, like editing, illustrating, business stuff, working out outline, or whatever else might distract me from writing. Sometimes it's because I really, really do not want to write. Sometimes a combination of these factors.
* Writing: I am writing when I'm at my computer: before work, after dinner, on the weekends. Time when I could be goofing off and playing video games, but I am choosing to write instead.
* Inspired: This is when I am energized and excited about writing, and choose to spend most of my available time on doing so. I am rarely inspired.
* Hardly Writing: I haven't given up on writing, but I don't want to do it and largely avoid it at home. So I will convince myself to do it during bits of useless time: walking to/from work, while on lunch break, while using the exercise bike.

"Hardly Writing" and "Not Writing at All" feel very similar to me in some ways. They're both states where I feel as though I'm wasting too much time that I ought to be using writing. In both cases, I feel like I have plenty of time for non-writing tasks and leisure.

But the key place where it's different is that I get a surprising amount written while "hardly writing". I started on Wednesday, and did no writing over the weekend, yet I've still written almost 4,000 words. This is perceptible! It's much faster than the progress I made on Prophecy back in 2002-2004, and I felt then like I was constantly working at Prophecy.

But working on A Rational Arrangement went faster, too: even when I felt like I was hardly writing, the manuscript continued to inch forward towards the conclusion.

I am writing Birthright, a book I've tried to write and abandoned before. I'm about 20% through it at the moment, and I have a long, long way to go. But I am feeling good about this attempt, paradoxically because I do not feel that good about it. I am not inspired, and I am second-guessing my choices, and I am struggling with how to portray events, and I am writing it anyway. I'm not serializing it anywhere, and no one is telling me "it's good, write more!" I'm just writing it. And making a reasonable amount of progress, without feeling as though I'm stressing myself to make progress.

It's early yet in this particular phase, so I might yet lock up and quit (again), or decide I need to write another romance novel in the Paradise setting because I know there are readers for that. We'll see.

On a related note:

Birthright's outline has 42 bullet points. The ratio of outline-points-to-scenes on the last two novellas I wrote was 1:2. But the outline-to-scene ratio on RA was much worse: 1:5.75.

My personal estimate for Birthright is 179 scenes, of which I've finished 40. Anyone want to bet on the actual final scene count? Winner gets my next e-book free! :)