Blog No. 75

Hooray, 75! Here’s that milestone I mentioned a few weeks back. Somehow it’s not as exciting as 71, but that could be just because I like to be different. Either way, every week I manage to get a blog post finished is an accomplishment. Christian ( just finished another of his posts on Tuesday and he sent out a nice link to me, so I thought I’d return the favor. He has a pretty intimate approach to his blog. It has a nice personal quality I don’t tend to display on this blog. I suggest you check it out.

Christian was actually the reason why I made the initial goal to write a novel this year – so you can blame him. I was always planning on writing a novel, I just wasn’t necessarily going to try for it this year. Sometimes we need a push and I try to keep my writing goals at the edge of my reach but I’m still not there. I’ve been cruising through my short stories and I have this blog and another project on the go. My writing is getting better in quantity and quality but the novel has remained daunting and a bit scary.

I’m still trying to work out the best way for me to write at home. I fear the outside, so writing on the patio isn’t really an option and anytime I’m inside, I get too distracted to get anything done. I do get to do a little writing at work (shhh) but since I write by hand I don’t usually have an opportunity to pull out my notebook and pen (and I have a special pen). I do get some typing done from time to time, but work comes first and there isn’t always an opportunity to pour over my stories and give them the work they need. My best chance is off hours. I go in on some Saturdays and once the rounds have been made and the tickets have been sold, I can usually find some time to do some typing.

As it stands I am still most productive out with the guys at coffee shops. We sometimes get distracted with conversation (we’ve blown several hours on what was wrong with the prequel trilogy) but we’ve managed to find a balance and I’ve been able to have red-letter-days now and again. Those big days make me hopeful for the future. I still see myself as a burgeoning writer with lots of room to grow. I know we should always see ourselves as students (lest we get stagnant and rude) but I’m still actually in the first steps part of my journey. I’m still ecstatic with a thousand word day. To some that may seem like a lot and to others not much at all, but I’ll try to put it into a bit of perspective. I’m not yet at the stage where cutting text (or whole stories) is viable. Writers should be able to look back on a day’s work and not hesitate to scrap it in favor of the next day’s work. That’s not to say it’s easy. I’ve cut out paragraphs and pages from my stories, but it hurts. It’s like pulling off a band-aid or selling your first stuffed animal. Unfortunately, progress comes from putting your feelings aside, cutting out the less than stellar writing and satiating yourself with taking that really good line and saving it for later.

And all that is for short stories. I haven’t even managed to get to that point in my novel writing. Writing isn’t hard. I do these blogs every week and while I sometimes struggle with the topics, I can usually crack one out in half an hour or so. What’s hard is writing well. I suffer for my writing because I give a shit. I could use the same plot, language and phrasing as I read in all the best sellers I’ve read, or I could challenge myself and try to become a better writer with every two-hundred, five-hundred or thousand word day I have. We edit each other’s writing within Adventure Worlds. It has been the second best help I’ve gotten from the group and all of our writing is better for it. I spend as much time editing a story as I do in a typical writing session and all that effort comes back to me in my own writing as much as it helps my group members. Christian will attest that one of my favourite things to say in an edit is “you can do better.” I’m not saying the writing is bad or needs clarification – I’m saying it’s lazy and I know the writer can come up with something better. I know it’s a frustrating thing for me to say, but I hope it is one of those things that makes all of our writing better in the long run. I’ve always said I’d rather be someone’s favourite author than a best seller. While I’d never turn down being a best seller, I hope the work I put into my writing ends up being something special to the people who will appreciate it.

7 thoughts on “Novel

  1. Christian Laforet

    Hey dude, I take full responsibility for the novel lol. In hindsight, it was a bit much to shoot for right out of the gate this year. I think once all those smaller projects you’re working on get completed, you’ll find it a lot easier working through the novel, and the work you’re putting in now on shorts and other things will really pay off.

  2. I don’t want it to sound like I’m knocking you for your ambition. I’m happy to be able to ride that eagerness and keep challenging myself. I’m just not confident enough to tackle the novel. I do want to get the majority (if not all) of the first draft done this year, but I’m more realistic with my expectations. Besides, I’m working that much harder to get to that point, so it was a good goal that I just fell short of reaching.

  3. I’ve seen you and your writing evolve so much over that past year that I am quite certain that once you have hit your stride especially going into the summer and the side challenge you have with accumulating as many short stories as you can by June, and the retreat, you will be able to throw down and push forward with the novel, also as long as you are writing, you are working that much harder to get to the place you need to be to tackle anything. Keep Pushing Forward.

  4. Thanks Justin. You’re right that any writing is beneficial and will end up working out for the best in the long run. You can (I can) get distracted with plans and goals and challenges and lose sight of the real goal – to write.

  5. JO

    Nothing worthwhile is ever very easy. If you judge your novel while you’re working on it, you’ll never finish it. It’s like climbing a mountain. When you’re on the side reaching up you only see rock, you only feel scraped, bruised, alone and scared. But when you reach the top what a view! What an accomplishment! Save the judging for the editing/rewrite phase. Just concentrate on the climb. The only easy thing is giving up.

    1. Very well said. It’s relatable and inspiring, even though I haven’t climbed any mountain before. The metaphor is sound though, I haven’t finished a novel yet either. Definitely something to hang on to though. Thanks.

  6. Pingback: Home Base – Ben Van Dongen

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