Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Thousand Words A Day...or Lowering my Expectations

I have a huge contractual commitment this year.  I have to crank out all sorts of manuscripts in order to keep up, while still editing for my authors, editing previously submitted materials, continuing to submit outside of the contracted work and maybe even eke out a few minutes of my day for my family and home.  For the past few weeks, I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to meet--or exceed--my obligations. And, for the most part, I'm doing well.

But I think I want to follow my own advice.  I think I want to step back for a little while. It's like this:  the Mythos series I'm working on is comprised of novellas.  Those need to hit anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 words when complete.  Now then--when I do writing challenges, I average about 2,000 words per hour. So, thinking logically, I can complete the first draft of one novella every seven to ten days simply by sitting down for an hour and writing straight through.

So now, I need to figure out how to accomplish that.  If I work at my desk, I'll see all my plot outlines and worldbuilding notes tacked to the walls around me.  It distracts me easily and I'll get sidetracked very quickly, like I did last night.  I looked over at my husband in the middle of writing and behind him was a picture of a coral reef I'd tacked up on the board for use when describing a setting.  All of a sudden, I said, "Damn~! I don't even know what the name of that yellow fish is!"

On to Google.  The yellow fish question led to the "does that blue starfish have a name?" and from there to "where do dolphins like to be scratched?" and from THERE on to "are dolphin's young called calves or pups?"

Boom. Forty-five minutes down the tube.  I emerged from them wiser about all manner of affairs oceanographical (the answers are sunfish, no idea, anywhere but near the blowhole and calves) but vastly unproductive when it came to actually putting words down on the paper.

So working at the desk is out.  So is the living room and the bedroom.  Why? Television and the phones.  My daughter LOVES to text message me.  I love talking to her so I'll text message her back.  Before I know it, I'm typing my ass off--but on the cell phone and not the keyboard.  As for television, well, what can I say? I love paranormal shows and I have a TIVO. Diligence FAIL.

I swore when I got my new laptop that I was never going to hook it up to the internet.  My reasoning was that I'd used my old laptop for web surfing and keep this one pristine (and virus free) by using it only for writing and editing.  Well, that idea was flushed when my other daughter's laptop broke.  Now, every time I get on the computer, I always have to go check my email--which usually leads to an email I have to answer, and then I just cruise by Facebook, and then I just run to check my standings in the P&E Readers Poll, at which point I feel the need to go promote and push people to vote for me and...well, you get the picture.

I could always write longhand, but I can never find a good pen.

So here's my plan: I'll do that mandatory 2k at night, after all humans in the house have gone to sleep. There's never anything good on TV in the middle of the night, I won't get text messages from my daughters who are busy being new and sleep-deprived mothers, there's no one to hang out with online and even the people who need me to buy something from the 5k check they're sending me from Malaysia and oh! I can keep the change! won't send me more junk mail until seven am Eastern Standard Time.  You know--right before the banks open. So, I'm going to make it a rule: I'll write my daily blog entry first, then run off and do my two thousand words before I go to sleep.  If I stick to my schedule, I can reasonably produce a novella every two weeks and still have time to write on my big WIPs as well as edit the rest of the time.

Okay. Whew!  Glad that problem's solved.  Off to write.