Birth of a Book: Day One #amwriting

2013-12-04 11.56.49Today is an auspicious day – a good day. It’s the day when I finally begin actually writing my follow-up to Singled Out. Tardy but resolute, I’m starting work on my second novel.

I thought, as I’m going to be spending more time writing and less time blogging over the coming months (see what an optimist I can be), it might be interesting to chart the progress and (see what a pessimist I can be) the pain.

This is Ground Zero. There is nothing here except a pair of opening paragraphs flapping about in the breeze (a derisory 255 words), along with two pages of typed notes on the original idea (two years old), and two pages of handwritten notes (scribed whilst I waited for my my old PC and my new iMac to play nicely) on the updated idea. That’s it.

I’d intended to be so, so much further on by now, but, well, life… has got in the way. I call myself a writer, but I haven’t written anything new for two years  (for the purposes of this blog, I’m not counting marketing blurb, which I write pretty much every day). I’ve edited – that means the odd paragraph and a lot of pressing of the delete button – but not actually written.  Those two new opening paragraphs surfaced in March, but since then… nothing. Not a word.

I am ashamed.

But I will do better, and this is where it starts.

Whilst I wrote Singled Out, a writing buddy and I had a modest commitment to one another – that we would exchange 500 new words each week, on a Sunday evening. We reasoned that anybody, no matter how preoccupied or how busy they were, could manage 500 words a week. And we did it, both of us, with almost no fails, for month after month, as both her first novel and my own took shape. What happened of course was that we both wrote considerably more than 500 words on most weeks, because that 500-word commitment opened the floodgates. So we would either pick a choice 500 words to send, or send the lot. Difficult weeks would find me bashing out a desperate page late on a Sunday afternoon, but most weeks weren’t that dire.

My writing buddy and now very dear friend has invited me to take up the 500-word challenge again and I’m going to do it, because I’m tired of being a Writer Without Portfolio.  Stand-by, Suzanne. Shit-or-bust, you will get words this week.

The idea is, I’ll report back every week – short and sweet though, because I want to spend more time writing and less time blogging. Forgive me, but I want to get that next book out of my head and on to some paper. Either that, or stop calling myself… a writer.

Wish me luck.

23 thoughts on “Birth of a Book: Day One #amwriting

          1. Thank you. I’ve been doing little bits each day (usually later at night), but until I get back to a regular schedule, I’m not accomplishing what I’d like to.

    1. There will be no progress without this commitment, I’m sure of it – at least to get things moving, if not the whole first draft (or as long as you can bear it). Thanks as ever for being such a supportive writing buddy and friend. x

  1. Lucky you to have a writing buddy to make you kick ass! Good luck, bon voyage! (And, selfishly, I do hope you won’t stop reading blog posts, even though you write far fewer of them! 🙂

    1. I will keep reading, just writing fewer, shorter (your short posts have prompted me towards taking this route). I just have to break the cycle where, every time I sit down to write, I end up doing a blog post. That’s not getting Novel Number Two written!

      1. Be advised though, Julie — and as I’ve learned in the past thirty-two days — short doesn’t necessarily mean quicker, if you care what you’re posting, as I’m sure you do. I set myself a 400 word limit, minus 21 for the introductory parenthesis, which is 379 words That may be draconian; I don’t know. It takes a lot of paring down and rephrasing what I initially write to get to the skeletal core of what I’m trying to say. Still, I set myself the (to me) Herculean task of doing it every day (for fifty days), If you plan to post less often than that, you should be able to free up plenty of time. 🙂

  2. Darned real life – gets in the way of everything. Good luck on the new novel. You can call yourself what you want. To me, you’re a writer.

  3. Ouch!! No, sorry, we don’t do shame. Absolutely not. It’s very unhelpful, so please stop. Now. You don’t produce something as accomplished as ‘Singled Out’ without being a writer. Isn’t there bound to be some thinking time (in all likelihood, mainly unconscious) before great words are bashed out on your beautiful new iMac? Incidentally, I’d just love to embed a smiley face HERE but unfortunately don’t know how to do it.

    1. Thinking time?.. oh yes indeed. But it’s the gaping great holes *between* the thinking time that have given rise to the shame! It’s the two miserable opening paragraphs (I actually quite like them), with a distinct absence of follow-through, thinking or otherwise!

      But you make me blush, Marcus. And I am resolved to do better.


      (That would be a colon followed by an end-bracket – which *some* devices very kindly translate into a smiley face!)

  4. Go for it! Excellent news. Of course, as you realise, your blogging public will hold you to this promise! 500 words every Sunday? Tick. Noted in the diary…

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