Cracking the whip

I have been acutely aware of the time I’ve been spending when I’m home from work sitting around watching Anime and House of Cards; playing computer games; and catching up on sleep. I have therefore decided that I am going to force myself to write every single day. I do realise that this is what I am meant to have been doing anyway, but I’ve been getting over a couple of medical issues along with the death of an old school friend. That’s right: this blog is going to be just as funny and irreverent as the ones before it. Just to lighten the mood, here is a picture of my cat, Minkah, doing an impression of me preparing to write:

ImageThis is actually going to be relevant later on in this blog post.

I was going to set a goal of starting tomorrow but realised that this meant leaving myself open to putting it off till I find myself playing more of the South Park video game at 2 am and needing to go to bed so I thought it was better to at least blog about my decision to write. My main motivation – aside from the obvious goal of being taken seriously as a professional writer – is the fact that I have a novel to edit and re-draft. This is something that I have been planning to go back to for about three years now and even got a structural edit on about a year ago.

Upon further reflection I have realised I need to make a note of the basic sequence of events and then use that to write the book again from scratch, this time with three dimensional characters, excitement, premises that make sense and more humour. Also tragedy. I also need to do more research on cats, their different types, how they act and what differences they have country to country as my book is full of them. That’s right, I am writing a book about cats. Cats who fight evil. Specifically, my cat Minkah.

See, Minkah went missing for just over eight weeks a few years ago, by the end of which we were pretty sure we would never see him again; then we get a phone call from our local vet saying that someone brought him in, they scanned the microchip, and he was ready to be picked up. I wrote the book to try and explain what was going on for those two months because he seemed absolutely fine. The only obvious conclusion I could come to was that he was fighting evil with some sort of Feline Space Corps and could only come back once a significant mission had been completed. Just as obviously, he was fighting with psychic light weapons.

Going back to my opening, the death of my friend made me realise more than ever that this span of life we have is incredibly short and we need to make the absolute most of it. For me, that means getting all these crazy ideas I have out of my head and onto paper so I can experience the satisfaction of seeing my friends, peers, and total strangers become confused, bewildered, and hopefully entertained by them. I’m also writing a play based on the main character from I Think You Ate My Sandwich. After that I’ll probably write another draft of that novel to publish properly, in a form that actually tells a complete story without so many loose ends. That’s right: this time you get to find out the significance of the pocket watch.

I’m looking forward to having a few of you along for my journey as I chronicle the painful process of cutting and polishing these crazy diamonds in the rough over the next few months. I’ve also made a definite goal to have an agent representing my work by the end of this year. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. Maybe I should volunteer at a cat shelter…

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5 thoughts on “Cracking the whip

    • If you want I’ll make you an official feedback person of later drafts. Though I’ll need to get your feedback on my first book first 🙂 I’m assuming you have a copy?

  1. Okay dude. Let’s do some maths. I did a word count for you already: 666.
    Possibly portentous.
    That’s 666 words you didn’t put towards your book.

    If ‘x’ is the amount of time and energy it took you to write this blog and ‘y’ is the amount of time and energy you have each day to dedicate towards writing your book, then you just spent time not writing your book.

    I used to blog HEAPS. It was fun as hell. (I think my comment may have a link to it!) I really enjoyed it and wish I could return to those regular updates. It was good exercise, like training for the big game. But as work got more, time and energy got less. You need time and energy to write. Where you spend it each day is up to you, but have a good think about this question: at the end of 2014, do you want to have a year’s worth of blogs chronicling the re/writing process? Or do you want to have a complete book?

    I can’t understate the value of having a community in your artistic life, and keeping a blog about the process will have lots of people commenting and supporting you. You will, in turn, reply to these comments, revisit them, get into conversations about art and writing. This will make you feel good. It isn’t words in your book.

    I’m not sure how your creative brain works. If it’s a machine that works on problems with creative solutions, do you want it working on the problem of how to blog about this week’s writing activities? Or the problem of how to make a believable cat narrative that people will want to read in one sitting? To quote Ron Swanson: “Whole ass”.

    *whk-TSSH*

    • I agree with what you’re saying and generally it’s what I adhere to. I’m just trying a different strategy based on what I’ve been told by others in the publishing world, which is to build my audience pre-emptively. I need to remind the people out there that, yes, I’m working on a novel and that soon I will have a full manuscript. It also allows me to display my writing ability (though the 2am posts are hardly indicative of my full writing skill).

      I’m not sure that in my case I have a finite amount of creative energy to work with. Obviously time is a consideration but I generally have more control over that than most people. Really it’s more a matter of forcing myself to write and getting back into the groove of that, and things like these blog entries allows me to ‘warm up’ those muscle memories and writing synapses.

      Overall, and most importantly, when I had this epiphany (extremely) early this morning there was no way I was awake enough to write anything productive in my book. So really it was either write this blog entry or write nothing at all. In all cases, I have to go with writing.

      Later on today I’m going to be doing my daily outlining, planning and ‘conversations with myself’ about where my book is going, character building and seeking out plot holes and emotional gaps. I’ve scheduled in time to do this each day as I know that’s the only way it’s going to happen. This will be in combination with a little bit of networking, a little bit of blogging (not every day, maybe every week) and a little bit of conversing with other writers, editors and publishers I’ve made friends with through my travels at the Writer’s Centre, the ASA and festivals here and there.

      When I really get down to the ‘crunch’ of getting through the draft with all my research, outlining and notes I’ll be disappearing from everything until at least one more draft is done and I need the distancing time to balance myself. Your advice is all taken on board though and I’ll be making a conscious effort to always put the book first above all other writing. That’s the only way I’ll get my chocolate reward.

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