500 words a day
This question comes most recently from a school visit, but I get variations on it a lot. (“Isn’t it hard to make yourself work when there’s no one to make sure you’re doing it?”) It seems like an appropriate post for New Year’s Day, when everybody’s busy making resolutions and promises to themselves!
Wisdomous Wednesday is a weekly series of posts with advice about writing ranging from craft to navigation through the publishing world. If you have some wisdomous thoughts you’d like to share here, don’t hesitate to contact me. I love advice from other writers!
Dreams are tricky. If you never go after them, they’ll always be there as a nice security blanket, a sort of “what-if” that you can take out and admire whenever you’re feeling low. Going after them, though, means that you’re introducing the possibility of failure. And if you fail, that nice shiny dream might go kerplut, and no one wants to carry around a squashed dream. Not nearly so shiny. Writers who decide to pursue publication risk that kerplut every day, which is a pretty terrifying thing when you want something badly enough. So how do you actually go about pursuing a dream that big?
Almost exactly one year ago, I got on a plane to fly to Australia. I had about 20,000 words of a new book, a lot of emotional baggage, and a metric ton of doubts. Not much to go on, really, but I knew I had to get moving on my dream of being a writer or I’d be waiting for something to happen to me forever.
I intended to more or less take a break this week. It was Thanksgiving (even if it’s not a holiday here in Australia, we still have dinner in our house), I sent out my first ever query letters. I was allowing myself some time to luxuriate in being a total basketcase, refreshing my email every five minutes even when it was 3 AM in NYC. I intended to start on my next project on Monday.
Well, as so often is the case with me, my subconscious had other plans. I was just this evening wailing to my CP Amie about how my imagination was running away with the sequel to THE IRON WOOD and not HUNTED, when I don’t plan to work on said sequel unless the first book goes anywhere. Whyyyy, I kept asking, whyyyy do I always want to write the wrong book at the wrong time? I was dreadfully excited about HUNTED halfway through TIW, when I knew I had to focus and finish TIW. Now that I have time to write HUNTED, all I want to do is write the sequel to a book that isn’t even close to being published yet.