Wednesday, 2 March 2011
In the beginning...
snow squalls, chilly, temps minus 5
Well, now the sun is almost out. A few minutes ago we couldn't see the pine tree just out the back window, for all the snow.
Started Book 8 today. Was expecting and planning to start yesterday - first of March - but then I remembered Deanna was coming to clean and we generally try to be out of her way. Besides, hard to concentrate when all I hear is a vacuum. So we arranged to do errands etc.
But then turns out Deanna's week is next week! D'oh. I hesitate to suggest this was my subconscious looking for one more day of vacation - but if there's one thing on earth lazier than my conscious, it's my sub-conscious.
But here we are! Just finished writing for the day. Always momentous - that first day. I had set a goal of 500 words. Ended up writing just over 900. Feels good. First go a little rough...but I read and re-read and smoothed. And now I like it. Will re-read it tomorrow before starting on the original writing for that day. I find it's important not to get caught up in editing, at least for me. I can smooth and polish and edit for days and weeks and months, ending up with the finest 1000 words you've ever read...but no closer to actually writing the book. For me, editing can be an escape - I can hide in it. Kidding myself I'm being useful, when all I'm doing is running on the spot.
Some people can do it. I can't. For me I need to just keep pressing forward. I read over the work I did the previous day, do some editing and polishing - mostly to get myself back into that world. Then I need to write original text. One small foot in front of the other.
Each book, I realize, has different needs. The previous book - which is at the publishers and will come out in the US and Canada in the fall - is called A TRICK OF THE LIGHT. With that I felt I needed to just get that first damned draft done. No matter what a dog's breakfast it was. And, heaven knows, it was a bit of a mess - that first draft. But that's what editing and second and third and fourth drafts are for. I'll never get it right at first.
But other books - like BURY YOUR DEAD for instance, and this book, I think - I have a better idea initially where I'm going and why - and the themes. And so I plan to write a little slower but a little surer. I suspect the book, and the drafts, will be finished about the same time - they always are - and sent to my agent. But with the '1,000 words a day or more' books the second drafts contain more substantial changes. The '500 words a day' books take longer, but perhaps need fewer changes in the re-writes.
But, honestly - all my first drafts are messes. And while I give myself permission to write only 500 words a day, I really am more of a sprinter. I dash forward....and then go back and clean up the mess. It seems to be in my nature.
So - check back with me in 2 months and we'll see where I am. I'll probably have forgotten all about this newfound insight and will just be bumbling along, at speed.
I find a first draft generally takes 3 months, depending upon how many interruptions I have in that time. All of which I've agreed to. Every year I promise myself to turn down everything in those 3 months, and every year I seem to end up with even more commitments. This year, while april and the beginning of May are quite full - at least March is almost empty. yay.
Michael and I have decided to investigate geo-thermal. We had arranged for someone from NextEnergy to come on Monday - before I'd started writing - to look at the house and give us an idea of what it would cost, what would be the advantages environmentally and economically - and what would be the disruptions. But there was a huge storm - freezing rain, snow, winds yuck! So we re-scheduled for this afternoon at 2. We'll get a few quotes then decide.
At the top, by the way, is a photo of Trudy I took from where I was writing. For three months, as I write, when I look to the right I see the fireplace, lit. If I look to the left I see Trudy with some stuffed toy in her mouth - waiting for me to do something important. Like play.
A small world, but a good one.
Hope you're well. Thanks for coming along as we start Book 8.