Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017: A Year In Review: The Writing

This was a weird year writing. The best word I could come up with to describe it was impotent. I just never felt like I could get moving on something and at times I was completely schizo in deciding what I was going to do. My buddy Mike, always the port in my writing storms, can usually talk me down and get me in the right state of mind with sound, practical advice. But even then I struggled in focusing on one thing as my mind raced from here to there. It's really got me thinking about my approach and the way that I do things. Or it could be that I've been reading a lot of books on writing lately. So, let's look at 2017 as far as writing is concerned.

I set out to accomplish the following:
  • Write the first draft of MAGICAL GATSBY
  • Write the GENDER SWAPPED ARAGORN epic fantasy
  • Write 360k total words.
What I did accomplish:
  • Finish first draft of THE PENSIONER'S BROOCH (34k)
  • Started FRESH TRACKS (7k)
  • Rewrite of WINTER'S DISCORD (135k)
  • Started GIRL IN THE PICTURE (55k)
  • Started a rewrite of LOST SCIONS (24k)
  • Started CHLOE (3k)
So, as you can see, schizo. Too many plates. I fell well short of my 1k a day word count goal. Rather than lament about my lack of discipline or need for a routine, I'm looking at each of these projects and what to do with them. I need to make a run at finishing something again, so, what are these projects?

BROOCH: Prequel to SCIONS. It needs another pass and it may be what I need to fix what I see as the issues with SCIONS.

TRACKS: I was just rereading what I wrote of this while writing this blog and I like it a lot. It's kind of voice-y (something I desperately need to work on) and I think there's something there, I just have to find it.

DISCORD: Done. Forever and ever. Until someone buys it, I'm not doing any more with that-at least for a while.

PICTURE: This was a story I fell in love with out the gate and threw out all my normal practices as I wrote this. And that became part of the problem. I didn't know what I was writing and tried pantsing the book. It didn't exactly work. It turned into two different books fighting one another. On one hand it wanted to be a procedural-esque mystery like MYSTIC RIVER (which I was reading at the time) or a supernatural thriller. I feel like I have to decide on one and pull the trigger on it.

SCIONS: I still believe in this project. I'm working on paring it down into something less meandering and tighter.

CHLOE: A working title. A MG/chap book idea that I'm writing for my daughter. Very early in this project and I need to study a bit as I plan this. 

The aim for 2018 is focus. Focus on skill, focus on execution. Mike preaches these things and I need to listen to him. He's not just saying these things because he likes hearing them, he's being the good teacher that he is. So, goals? I don't know. I don't know if I want to set goals for myself in terms of what I intend to write. I've never achieved them. Not even close. My tastes and moods change. My interest in projects wane. Inspiration comes from strange places (see PICTURE) and I have to learn to run with it.

So, maybe be a little less word county and concentrate more on my skill as a writer. What does that mean? Write every day. No matter what. At least an hour. As my friend Brian Fay does: 3 pages a day. It's not so ambitious. I can do this. And then at the end of year I can take an inventory of what I accomplished. I'm a planner as far as my work is concerned, but I'm not going to lock myself down to any plan. I'm going to write what comes to me as it comes.

Also, unrelated to my writing (or maybe related to my writing), I'm going to work on being healthy and happy, two things I've neglected frequently in my life. It's come to a head recently. I'm a lucky man and sometimes I forget to enjoy that happiness. And I need to take care of myself. I have too much good in my life not to. 

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