Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Progress Report

The end of August marked six months since I left my day job for the last time, and came home to start my life as a full time writer. It's appropriate that I spent the first couple days of September at Worldcon. Conventions have this way of changing my life.

I wanted to do a meditation on how things have been for me in the last six months, but I have to admit, I don't have a firm handle on it. Things were weird at first. I was still working part time at home for the first month, and then the vendor who took over my work offered me a job, and I spent some time stressing about that. I really had trouble acclimating to how full time writing should work. I'm still adjusting my daily expectations, my schedule, my goals and ambitions.

But the raw numbers are good. I wasn't terribly productive for the first two months. And once I turned in the first draft to my agent, there were six weeks where I was fapping about on different, unrelated projects, just to clear my head. All told, I only had about two and a half to three months of solid, honest writing work.

In that time, I wrote around 140k words. So I feel pretty good about that. Mind you, they were essentially flawed words. I made some mistakes in my plotting, and I still struggle with character development. I tried to shove too much back story into the first book, and the characters are stuck on the page doing things for reasons of plot, rather than reasons of character.

What that means is that the book I wrote, The Heretic Blade, is going to end up as the third book in the series, rather than the first. With my agency's help I've developed a pretty solid outline for the first two books, something I didn't really have for Heretic, and I'm plowing through the new book one.

But here's what's interesting to me. This feels normal to me, now. When I first started writing I was grappling with how a writer's life is supposed to go. How I structure my time, how much I need to expect of myself. When it's okay to put the pen away for a day and do something else, and when you have to push through and be productive, even when you're not in the mood. And those are things I'm still working on. But I'm getting better at it.

So there's progress. I tell myself that I can have the first book (The Pagan Night) done and revised by the end of the year. There are potential obstacles to this, not the least of which is the upcoming release of Mist of Pandaria, but I think it can be done.

Better. It will be done. I'm going to do it.