Sunday, September 24, 2006

It's all part of my autumn almanac

I have it my head, now you can have it too.

The plot of my book covers a period of time which starts on the 4th October and ends on the 8th November in bloodshed and orgiastic mayhem. So I am thinking, I may lock myself in the attic* with a bottle of Absinthe** and attempt to edit the text concerning each day as each day passes, and then have my book finished for mid-November.

Given that my book is about 120,000 words long that's... well I'll be looking at about 3400 words a day, but this is editing, not writing. Although there are some bits that need rewriting.

Thing is, I keep struggling and getting real despondent. Illness and pressure don't mix too well, but I need to do something dynamic now or else I will start wandering towards the dark place. I am fed up of being a struggling novelist. I want to be a novelist.

The thing is basically written, I just need to get it to a stage where I don't feel like throwing up every time I consider the possibility of someone else reading it. Which is, quite honestly, the current state of affairs.

Only, should I risk it? Should I risk pushing myself into relapse at a time when I seem to be doing better than I have been in ages, when finally my health seems to be moving in the right direction? I have a history of such reckless behaviour and suffering the consequences

Then again, is it any risk? Perhaps I am umming and ahhing about this, entirely reasonable and harmless idea, simply because I am afraid of facing the endgame?

I could get everything else out of the way before the 4th October, clear the decks. And we'll probably head south again around the 8th November, so I will have that break to look forward to.

The idea of entering my 2007 with my book still unfinished is pretty damn depressing. I want to enter 2007 seeking publication.

I just noticed this is my 400th post. Oh dear...

* We don't have an attic, but I can lie on top of the wardrobe.
** I can't drink on my pills but I have this stuff for sore throats.


Sage said...

I don't know if this is possible, but can you make the book the focus of the next couple of months without pressuring yourself to finish? Personally I find having something unfinished hanging over my head more stressful than actively working on it. But maybe I'm just funny like that.

marmiteboy said...

I agree with Sage. That is a very sagely thing to say. I think that finishing your novel is like what it must feel like when a child leaves home. At the moment you are in control of it. You can tell it what time it is having its dinner, whta time it must come in at night and what time it must go to bed. Now it has grown up and is ready to spread its wings and enter that big bad world. You will no longer be in control and that is a hard thing to take. But like most children, it will leave home and be just fine. With luck it will be great. Just let go.

I've now done with being a philosopher and I'm going for a lie down ;-)

Mary said...

go on, do it.

And enjoy your cough mixture.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others. Though, perhaps set yourself a time limit for each day as well? Not sure how practical that is with something like writing....

Good luck whatever - it *will* be fantastic!

Ooo- like the word verification - waggo!

Anonymous said...

Tell you what. Post chapter 1 to a friend whose judgement you trust and get their reaction. Then post it to someone whose judgement is pants and get theirs. Then take a deep breath and send the whole thing to a publisher, because you'll now know how to evaluate their reader's reaction.

Go for it!

BloggingMone said...

I agree: go for it! And remember that most of your millions of readers won't know you personally anyway!

The Goldfish said...

Thanks folks,

Looks like a busy October for me then. And yes, I'm sure I can work something out such that I am not putting too much pressure on myself.

After all, if I want to get it done by the end of the year, then this plan will still leave most of November and December to tie up any lose ends.

And Charles, yes, I do have a plan for what I'll do when I get it to that stage. However, it does genuinely need a little more work. The way I feel about it is perhaps irrational, but I also know there are bits which remain disjointed or incomplete.

Thanks everyone for having so much confidence in me. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm late again (I'm always late), but glad you've decided to try. This is what I was going to say and seeing as I've written it, I'll say it anyway ...
only you can judge the effect of "stuff for sore throats" and the degree of comfort to be gained atop the wardrobe and of course the likely patterns of your own health.
If you try then we might see less wonderful writing here for a while and you might fail. If you don't you may hit 2007 in a bad way which you might consider a failure anyway. Sometimes though, failure can help make us more determined. I enjoy reading your wonderful writing here and would miss it if there were a break. But more importantly, I really would like to read this book.

midwesterntransport said...

yah, do as much as you can, but don't kill yourself trying to get this book done. if you exhaust yourself halfway through, then you'll be more ill and upset about the lack of progress. so i say try to split the difference: do as much as you can but be mindful of your health in the meantime.

Future Doc Wilson said...

I too am slogging it out, trying to get my writing done for my dissertation.

What I have found to be helpful is to break up my writing time into two blocks: new writing and editing. When I am motivated, energized and full of good ideas, I do new writing. (Sometimes I need external stimulants-- coffee, tea, or a good music CD-- do the trick.)

When I am tired, sleepy, or don't feel like being bothered, I do editing. Sometimes, I get disgusted with myself, and push on to write 'one' new paragraph.

Also, when I can't think of anything substantative to write, I would outline some thoughts, or write a mental note to myself a note ("check on SBA's diary"; " "why did the teacher like her sister Guelma better?") This can then spur on ideas at a later date.

Also, if you have voice mail or email, send yourself a random idea or a kind thought-- it helps!

Your second book needs to be a collection of essays from this blog. So, hurry up and finish the first book!

Future Doc Wilson said...

You may also benefit from a reader, to make 'kind and helpful' comments...

Alexandra Lynch said...

I definitely advise using a reader. I serve as a reader to two different authors, and they both find that having someone they trust to give an outside take on how various passages sound and how the whole thing holds together is infinitely valuable. I'd be willing to give you a hand, if you're interested; I'm working on building up a CV on it so that I can actually go get a paying job someday. (grin)

The Goldfish said...

Thanks folks,

I do have a friend who has volunteered to read this when I'm ready for it. To be honest, this time (she says, as if she's going to write many many books) I am happy with someone who is a very close friend and who I trust absolutely - and who I know will think no less of me when she reads it and sees it is a pile of poo.

Thanks anyway, Alexandra. The offer is appreciated. I won't forget you exist (will add you blogroll) and best of luck with what you're hoping to do. That's what the writing is about for me; finding some way of working within limitations which don't allow for 'normal' work.