Something On Paper

Remember — the First Big Rule of Writing is You have to write something on paper. SOMETHING. Not something great. Not something good. It can, in fact, be something utterly suckiferous. But you must write something.

Between the big community blow-up, putting the community on its own site, being without air conditioning for a week in August in South Hellidonia in a townhouse that has no air circulation and heats up like Satan’s nether bits at the smallest provocation, AND being genuinely stuck on a part of Talyn that was going wrong for reasons I couldn’t hunt down and kill, articulate, or even figure out, the writing has been going terribly. I can nail down the date things went wrong. July 30th. (Read the July 27th entry for a real laugh.) Have not had a single good day of writing since then. And because the deadline on this project is so tight, and because I could feel days slipping through my fingers, I was starting to get frantic.

I was getting words every day. Not enough words — not by a long shot. Around five hundred most days, three hundred one really rotten day, one day a thousand. Way below my goal.

But I put something on paper every single day. Today, at wit’s end about the time I’d lost, but with the problem with the book nailed down at last (revelation of the depths of the villian’s depravity came too soon after introduction of the villain, which is going to take some solid re-writing to fix) I did the numbers again, just to see how bad things really were.

And, by God, they weren’t that bad.

Remember The Rule. You have to write something on paper.

I have been following The Rule. Something. Every day, just get something. And that one thing — writing something every day — has so far kept my head well above water. I’ve lost a little ground. But not much. Here are my numbers.

Total words needed: 250,000
Words remaining — 135,382
Days remaining — 92

Words needed per day:
Seven days a week — 1471
Six days a week — 1631
Five days a week — 2051

This was still giving myself a full month to revise and rewrite. Feeling lighter in spirit, and cooler by far (the part finally came in and we have A/C again), I am now off to get some words for the day.

And I shall endeavor to avoid suckiferousness [g]. But if I can’t, I will still get something.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

5 comments… add one
  • Writative Aug 14, 2003 @ 21:42

    Just letting you know that we don’t just come here to help ourselves– we’re pulling for you too! Hang on ,Holly. You’re gonna make it, and you’ll drag that book kicking and screaming with you, and we’ll read it and gush with pride at how well you overcame suckifery!

  • Jean Aug 14, 2003 @ 17:36

    "Writer, mother, homeschooler…inventor of "Fun with Teeth""????

    I’m afraid to ask. In fact, remembering the sample chapter from Talyn, I’m not going to.

    Returning to my irregularly scheduled web meandering and running battle with RealPlayer.

  • Jean Aug 14, 2003 @ 17:24

    I was wondering. Just last night I was commenting to myself (yes, I talk to myself–always have) about how writers seem so fascinated with quantitative things like spreadsheets to track all sorts of things they do. Writers and accounting just aren’t customarily associated fields; however, you have just illustrated why it is so important. Without these tools, the mental abyss leading to despair becomes mammoth in proportion and excessively dark. The tools shed light and reason and reassure one in what, despite the community, is a very solitary profession.

    Write on.

  • Valerie Comer Aug 14, 2003 @ 10:35

    Last time you posted, didn’t you also need roughly 2000 wpd on a five day schedule? So really, you’re doing very well. It’s a good thing you did the Math so you can forget about the extra pressure you were putting on yourself. WooHoo! Go, Holly…

  • Jim Woosley Aug 14, 2003 @ 7:04

    What are Heinlein’s rules of writing?

    1. You must write.
    2. You must finish what you write.
    3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
    4. You must put the work on the market.
    5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

    (Linked from Jim Gifford’s site, http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/rahfaq.html, via http://www.robertaheinlein.com)

    Notice that 1, 2, 4, and 5 can be summed up in one word: Persistence, Persistence, Persistence, Persistence.

    And a careful reading of Heinlein’s other writings shows that Heinlein did not mean that you submit unedited first draft.

    In other words — by the Grandmaster’s measure, Holly, you’re doing wonderfully. Plus — like the Grandmaster — taking time to to Pay Forward.

    (And yes, I know that #1 doesn’t mean "generate a few thousand words in a three day spurt then not write anything else for a few years…..)

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