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Plan of Attack

February 8, 2010 1 comment

I’m fast realizing that updating this blog daily is not going to be feasible – especially on the weekends when it seems the days disappear before I have time to get even a few words down. I’ll update frequently though, dear reader, and promise to keep plugging away on my 60 minutes a day with or without a post (I know that you are tremendously concerned that I will not).

The last few days have been rough on the writing front. The hurdle: a submission deadline that I thought was not until March 31 is actually on March 1, so I have about two weeks to get a short story all prepped. The outline for that story is set, and the characters are established in my mind, but the actual writing is only just getting underway. I need about 2,000 words to meet the journal’s requirements.

I’ve put the novel on hold until I get this short piece done, then. It’s not an ideal situation. I wanted to finish the first two chapters before I set the novel aside for a rest, thinking that the story and characters needed to blossom a bit before I left them for something else. I don’t want to lose the impetus on the novel, because I have faith that it can be a publishable piece. But if I’m honest with myself I realize that the novel has been in my head for at least three years, and a two week hiatus is not going to do any irreparable harm to my ability to tell the story.

The challenge of the short story is that it is for a far different reader than my YA novel. I am attempting to develop a more mature voice for this submission, and have found that in doing so I’m over thinking the whole process. I am getting bogged down and am feeling the story stall.

I’ve resolved to stop all hemming and hawing on the artistry of the piece for now and get the plot out and the characters developed. After I put this post up, I’m going back to the story and will put in another solid 30-60 minutes to try to get up to 1,000 words or so before bed. Using the outline as a guide, I think that’s an achievable target. The short term plan is to have the story done by Friday in (very) rough draft form. I’ll polish it for a week and send it on its way. I’m sure I won’t feel that the story got its due once the envelope is mailed, but at least I’ll have completed the whole drafting/revising/re-drafting/editing/submitting process.

On a side note, my wife has been plucking white hairs out of my head for the last 6 days. I’m 31. This is a frightful development. I’m not ready to blame the writing, though. The white hair probably got much more to do with the MSU basketball team.

Right?

Weekend Update

February 1, 2010 Comments off

I found that writing on the weekend was a bit of a challenge. My thinking was that the weekends would be no problem. There are always a few hours on Saturdays and Sundays that are not occupied with errands and household minutia, so I thought that fitting an hour in midday would be simple.

As it turned out, I never ended up sitting down during the day. Those down times – times spent lying on the couch with my wife or reading or watching a show with the kids – are not pieces of the day that I’m willing to surrender. I need to remember that part of the point of trying to become a writer is to find an occupation (NB I don’t yet think this might ever actually turn into a profession, but it will certainly occupy me) that allows for flexible and meaningful connection with my family. Finding the time to write during weekend days means removing myself from that part of my life that I value most. While writing has become an interesting motif for me over the last few days, it has not reached a level where it’s important enough to justify ignoring my family.

The writing then got bumped to the late evenings, which is no real solution. Sitting up well past midnight to write is not ideal, even though I am at my most creative late at night. I want to spend that time winding down my day, talking to my wife, sipping a glass of wine. Occupying myself with writing late at night cut into all those valuable pieces of my weekend routine.

I am beginning to realize that 60 minutes a day will end up being like training for a marathon. I will get a lot out of the experience, but I need to be aware of the potential strain that the exercise will place on the rest of my family. To be fair to them, I need to modify my routines so that I can write when it will not negatively effect them. If that means early mornings or less TV, then that’s going to have to be the case.

I joked that this whole idea might drive my wife nuts before it makes me crazy. In truth, that can be no joke. I can only write about what I know, and I don’t ever want to write about lonliness.

Categories: family, marriage, night, time Tags: , ,