My latest work in progress is a novel called ‘Cradle Island’. It is a kind of young adult/SciFi adventure with a hint of steampunk for those of you who want to pigeon hole it into some kind of genre. See some of my old posts if you want my opinions about ‘genre’ and how I don’t really follow that kind of thing – I tend to just write what I enjoy, if anyone else enjoys it then that’s a bonus.
This novel has whales and sharks, romance and conflict, questions of how society should or shouldn’t work and of course speculation about the mysteries of human ‘nature’; amongst lots of other things.
Sooner or later I expect I will publish an excerpt chapter on this very blog, but that will have to wait until I am at the editing stage. So far I have completed seven of the planned twelve chapters of the first draft. Currently that means about 60,000 words and I am pleased with its progress.
But now I have hit a problem, a perennial problem I seem to keep coming to with my writing, the problem of time. At my advanced age (email me with guesses, I dare you!) the months and years seem to flash by; the grains of sand dripping ever faster into a bigger pile at the bottom of the glass bubble. My problem is actually having or finding enough time to do the things I love. One of which is of course writing.
There are a number of aspects to this problem. The first and most obvious is what some might call ‘Real Life’. This is a thing that keeps getting in the way. I am not complaining about my job or my social life or all the everyday things that seem to take up so much precious time.
For example I love spending time with my daughter; her delightful five year old imagination inspires more that I could have imagined. I dearly love playing and writing music. And, surprisingly there are times when I actually do enjoy my job (For those who don’t know I am a teacher, and again young people are inspirational great to be around).
My current problem is that I would like to finish the first draft of this current novel by November. November is the month of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where writers are challenged to write a novel (at least 50,000 words) in thirty days. Last year I amazed myself and wrote the first draft of my first novel – ‘The Last Englishman’ (currently hitting the slush pile of an agent near you!). Anyway I really want to challenge myself and write another book, like I did with that one in November. I enjoyed writing from scratch, with no plan. The problem is that if I don’t finish the first draft of ‘Cradle Island’ by November I feel I might lose momentum with it. And I really want to finish it. This means writing about 50,000 words between now and November.
So, my question is this, is it possible to write 50,000 words over the next month or so and then another 50,000 words in November AND juggle my ‘Real Life’ in between?
And when I think about it I think two things. Firstly this seems likes a tall order, perhaps too tall, I may fail. On the other hand it’s just another challenge; a challenge to be enjoyed; after all I love writing. And if I don’t complete both by the end of November then it’s not the end of the world. I will know that I gave it a good go. My books will get finished…in time…
As someone who is fairly new to writing (I only started about a year and a half ago) I have recently come to a realisation; maybe even a revelation. In the end my ‘Real Life’ isn’t getting in the way, and that’s because writing is part of my real life…
As ever, all comments and suggestions are welcome…
© 2012 Simon Poore
3 thoughts on “Real life, time and writing…”
I, too, am finding it harder to ‘fit’ everything in. Is it that things take longer to do as we age or does time shrink?
Presumably, writing will stay part of your ‘real life’ until a publisher realises what a great writer you are, it becomes the major breadwinner for you and then becomes your full time work.
For now, enjoy finishing Cradle Island while it’s part of your ‘real life’ and good luck with nano!
Even though I don’t have a day job apart from the occasional freelance gig, I find it very hard to fit writing around “everything else” (it’s surprising how much of that there is when you’re at everyone else’s beck and call, which is what happens when you don’t have an office to escape to). Desperate to find blocks of time in which to write, I discovered the Ideal Week (google Michael Hyatt ideal week) and now have something resembling the good old-fashioned school timetable, which I follow quite faithfully. My writing moves forward much faster when I force myself to sit down and do it, funny that.
50,000 words a month is 1,600-ish words a day (I know this having done NaNoWriMo twice), and therefore quite doable if you set yourself this goal and stick to it. You already know that, right? After all, this is only first draft and doesn’t have to be anything like perfect. The real work’s in the editing, which is the bit I have to force myself to do! Good luck.
I like the editing bit, enjoyed it last time. You are right, it is do-able if I plant time well. Trouble is my life doesn’t always fit is neatly into boxes, but then again that could be what makes it good?
Thanks for your comments…