In recent years I’ve found that my life is more passionate and fulfilling when I’ve got a project or two going on. I don’t mean making a spice rack or cleaning out the back shed, though those are certainly up there, I mean creative pursuits.
Sometimes it’s a website, where I’ve put all of the neat SEO Analytics Tools that I’ve built in one spot, or a website that’s a blog comprised of web people making the web a better place. Sometimes it’s learning how to make a cowboy hat, and other times it’s a new pair of medieval boots, that I’ve medievally made to wear in a medievally way.
So about the time that we were cleaning up the all the fallout from the Huge Storm in March, a buddy of mine and I had reconnected via Stalkbook, and he’d mentioned that he was actively doing that thing that he and I had talked about, writing books. He’d worked on a few and finally had one that he was trying to get published. I’ll mention at this point that I thought this meant "getting published" so I was instantly famous.
He talked about how hard it is to get yourself motivated to write, and how he’d been challenged to a Weekly Word Goal by another writer and in two months he’d cranked out this book. He mentioned challenging me and I said I’d give it a shot, and then Life went goofy for another few months before he wrote again in September and we agreed to a start of October 1st, finishing the end of November. 50,000 words, about 6,000 a week, and invite other people in so we can shame each other weekly if we miss our mark. I got my brother-in-law, Doc Sam, in on it, and lo-and-behold that sardonic, sarcastic, Dr. House-tastic medieval nerd is really talented.
We’ve been writing and emailing each other our results for weeks now, and have actually picked up a legitimately published novelist into the fold, which ups the ante a bit, as he’s shooting for 80,000 for just the month of November. If he wasn’t Mormon, I’d tell him what huge nuts he has. Heh, I’m kidding… I already did.
So, I’m pleased to say that I’m ~31,000 words into my first novel. I’m writing fiction, though it’s a relatively idealised version of the story that brought me to Australia, with some creative license (I’ve made the hero much better-looking). Sometimes I sit down and find it hard to concentrate through the spate of network television and children arguing over which Ben 10 alien is stronger, but other times, when it’s quiet, I sit and crank out 3,000 words like it’s nothing.
Like I did tonight, only almost all of them were in an email to my writing friend, who had recently sent me another copy of his novel, revision number 21, in which he’d changed some things quite drastically. I’d written him previously screaming and threatening him because he’d killed one of my favourite characters. I didn’t go all "Misery" on him, but I’m willing to bet that his ankles are sweating. Heh, mostly I just told him about what it was like to read and what I want when I read murder-mysteries and stuff. And then it occurred to me.
This Book Writing gig is hard. Really hard. 21 revisions is a lot. I mean, I’m looking at my novel ("my novel" don’t I sound pretentious!) and thinking 2 or 3 is going to do it, but I’ve been reading blogs and talking to the other dudes in this group, and they revise, and revise, and send out Query Letters to Literary Agents and wait… and wait…
It’s a hugely involved process and I’m really looking forward to getting that First Big Step out of the way and writing the damn book. Who knew there was all this extra work?!?
But you know what? I’m doing it. Just like all the other creative pursuits that I plunk out of my brain every few months, this one feels big. I’m pretty excited.
Wish me luck.