Monday, March 17, 2008

Day One

The title “Day One” may seem strange to you, so I will explain. Today is Day one of my new “job” while out here in Vegas. I have been here for close to two weeks and I was under no delusions as to there being a settling in period. I felt two weeks was a fair amount of time to arrive and get my house in order. This weekend I finished 99% of the unpacking procedure, so I no longer have any excuses to not start working on the projects that I said I'd be working on while out here.

The main project, of course, is my writing. Ultimately, that is what I feel my job is while staying out here. Today was the first day of that job and I will be requiring certain levels of performance from myself. A minimum of 4000 words per week. That works out to about 12-15 pages of writing. It doesn't sound like a lot, but for anyone who has tried to write, or any other sort of creative endeavor, it is very hard to force creative productivity. Writing about 500 or 600 words a day is about 2-3 hours work, and again, this may not seem like a lot, but it is very taxing mentally. If you think about how much “creative work” the average person does in a typical eight hour shift, it probably isn't even close to 2-3 hours.

This morning I started writing for the first time in close to two months (not counting the half hearted attempt I threw in here and there). I wrote 786 words in about 2.5 hours and none of it involved the actual story. All of that time was spent updating my character sheets. Even though it did not progress the story itself, it was necessary written work. I hadn't updated the character sheets in about eight chapters and for a story like mine, this is a definite no-no! By the end of the fifth section, I had introduced 41 characters by name. Most of them, obviously, were mentioned only in passing, but for a story where I plan on having a couple hundred characters by the end, I need some way to keep track of who is who. It was also a nice way to go back through the last few sections to refamiliarize myself with the story. I will begin writing chapter 20 tomorrow.

For the record, I will state my goals for 2008. I am actually writing two books, a duology, that may see its way to being a trilogy, but the main arc of the story will appear in the first two books and this is what I need to get written. My first draft doesn't need to be pretty or even terribly good, but first, it needs to be written. I don't want to get bogged down with reworking the story until I get sick of writing it and then I never get it done. My first priority is to get it done.

Before arriving in Vegas, I had just under 78,000 words completed in the first book and I am guessing that that is about 70-80% complete. At 4000 words per week, I expect the first book to be done sometime in May with 110-120,000 words. I want to have the second book finished by the end of the year. By mid-December would be better, so that I can take a break for the holidays to visit family and friends, but that is still too far into the future for me to know where I'll be at that point.

Of course, while doing all this, I expect to keep up with my daily(ish) blogging and, hopefully, winning the occasional bet to keep my money from draining away too quickly. I'm not sure if I say it enough, so I will say it again, thanks for all the support my friends and family have given to me. Without them, none of this craziness would be possible.