Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordy Wednesday - Struggling

I mentioned the other day that I've felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins lately.

Finding time to write with everything else that I've committed to has been damn near impossible. Work will begin slowing down, but writing at work isn't good practice—and writing over lunch is a joke. Too many distractions, too many people wanting my attention. That's 9 hours of the day. Add driving time, let's make it 10. Plus 4–5 hours of sleep, time with the kids, the wife, cleaning, etc. Throw in the editing that I'm doing (less than 100 pages left; you know who you are) and the read-through I said I'd do (starting soon, I swear; you know who you are), and reading a chapter a night of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with The Girl before she goes to bed, and I'm tapped out. Unless someone has a Time Turner or some Heroes powers handy? Hell, at this point I'd take some Evie from Out of this World time-stopping power.

So, something had to give.

I wanted to get the first draft of what I started during NaNo done by January 31. Considering it's the 25th and I'm at 67K, I'm not sure how I'm going to do that. I proved with NaNo that I can write at least 1,667 words every day on average, but if we're using that same line of thinking—and assuming the story will end somewhere between 80K–85K—we're talking 2,000 words a day, plus everything else. I just don't see it. Unless by chance I really start pumping out the words, I might have to push that deadline to the end of February.

See, the thing about it is that I don't want to half-ass it. At this point in the story, the newly-formed trio is headed toward the outlined destination. They're almost there, and then...the last big reveal...and then the dénouement. Just a few more things to hit between their now and their ending, but getting them written in a decent time frame without glossing over it too quickly takes me a lot of time. Time I obviously don't have as of late.

Okay, enough of that.

A few weeks ago I posted about finding the first "book" I wrote. The year was 1992. I was in the 7th grade. It was called Medieval Stillness. And here's the prologue.

It was in the thirteen hundreds, when creatures of mystery and horror roamed the planet on which we live...or so we think. We begin our adventure in the town of Kheldar, where a family of humans live in a small, three-room, crowded, little house. The warrior, and oldest son, Rak Urgit, is preparing to leave his mother and father, and travel with all his friends through the world of mystery and explore places never before explored by a living being.
Perhaps one of my favorite things about this opening paragraph—and I'm being serious when I say that this was the entire prologue—was the fact that I called the house both small and little. That and my tragic overuse of commas in the third sentence.

And now, the only illustration in the six page book, done by my brother.

*License: I made these images.

Word to the Nerd


Nicole Ducleroir said...

LOVE the name Rak Urgit! You're so fortunate to have saved writing samples penned by your younger self. I have precious few of my own. Best of luck eking some writing time out of your busy schedule. I feel for you. I work from home and still struggle to find adequate time to write better-than half-assed pages. Oh, and kudos for reading to your daughter. Such special time she will always remember sharing with you!

confuzzled said...

I'll second the Bilbo Baggins feeling - but you are way worse off than me since you have family and stuff to take care of (apart from all the work and other things craving your attention).

Love the drawing, and the prologue. I hope you save your own kids' stuff, because it's really worth Gold when one grows old...

Have a good weekend :).

Cassie Mae said...

"Finding time to write with everything else that I've committed to has been damn near impossible."

Amen! I haven't written anything on my wip for I think 3 weeks. Haven't even opened the dang folder. And though being Bilbo would be totally awesome, stretched is exactly how I feel too.

Trust me, there is no rush at all with the book! I'm taking a much needed break from it myself. Focus on your own for a while. :)

DEZMOND said...

oh, you was one of those kiddos that write epic fantasy in their free time :)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

This is exactly how I feel. Juggling too many things and not succeeding.

B said...

I will love you forever for the out of this world reference.

Sorry you're going through so much stress. If it makes you feel any better, I am too. We can be swamped together. YAY!

And juding by your comment about using too many commas in one sentence, I still have lots of learn about proper writing. :-/

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

heeheehee! too cute!
yeah... i'm at about the same place as you with the finishing by the end of jan goal... :(

Colleen Chen said...

I love the prologue! Sounds like a good story. Small and little, no problem. your situation I don't think I could write even a hundred words a day...maybe you could have blog silence for a week and use that time to finish?

J. A. Bennett said...

It's funny becasue every time I hit 65,000 words I feel the same way. It's like, I know what the climax is, but I'm so afraid to execute that I hit a wall and freak out a little. The climax is the most important part and it has to be perfect! Anyway don't stress yourself out but do what you can. And your 'book' gave me a real chuckle. I loved how it was set in the "thirteen hundreds" lol!

aziasaidwhat said...

Okay... that prologue made me smile. It made me think of a writing excercise consisting of "Ben was a good boy. He helped people who needed help." - What is wrong with this sentence? I think that is why must of the time, authors don't have their first novel published until their 30's or 40's- once they have really mastered the showing and not the telling. There are the occasional writers who have some genius work that gets published in their 20's- but that is so rare! I go through a lot of things I have written the last few years and there is so much summary... which CAN be okay- but it has to be done in just the right way... I was just not writing enough scene. And scene is what captivates a readership.

Totally just nerded out on you about creative writing. Haha Sorry about that :)

Anyway, I hope things tame down so you can get the time you deserve to devote to your work. I guess it's all a matter of timing- when the time is right, you will have time to write? :) Happy Wednesday Josh!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I didn't keep enough of my earliest writing. wish I had.

It's always best to take your time versus rushing. It'll make editing and rewriting that much easier.

Emily White said...

But don't you know there's a big difference between small and little? Readers need that clarification. :)

I love that prologue, by the way! It reminds me of the way I used to write when I was little.

Misha Gericke said...

Awesome prologue, man. Totally epic. ;-)

It can be difficult when life constantly keeps you from writing, so I'm crossing my fingers that you'll find some serious writing time soon.

Nice background, by the way.

Padded Cell Princess said...

Was your brother a big fan of Strong Bad when he did your illustration?
I don't know how you do it all...especially with 4-5 hours of sleep at night! I would turn into a zombie and I prefer cereal to brains for breakfast.

Matthew MacNish said...

Is Rak Orcish? Because he's got some giant bicuspids.

Seriously, though? I wish I still had some of my old writing. It's got to be fun to see how far you've come.

When it comes to your deadline, all I can tell you is that I never force it with my writing. If the time (or the inspiration) isn't there, it will be eventually. What works for me may or may not work for other people, though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So just push back the deadline and keep writing. I can't write at work either. Blog yes, write no.

Stephanie D said...

I have no idea how you find the time for everything. My writing and reading of other blogs has definitely taken a back seat lately. Between finding new love and dealing with head lice AND strep throat I've been busy...Poor Peanut, she is not enjoying the enlarged tonsils or the nit picking. At least "Rudolph" makes us all laugh.
Get more sleep at night!
That is all.

Anne said...

With family and a career, doing something for yourself can be almost impossible. Just having active brain cells at the end of the day is an achievement for me. I think its touching that you kept the story and particularly the pic your brother drew.

smedette said...

I have always had great admiration for writers, but especially creative writers. Science fiction and fantasy may not be my preferred genres, but it's still damn impressive.

Even if you have to push your deadline back, the final product will be executed well and it'll be something you can be proud of.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

Bilbo rocks--seriously. I think you've always been a natural writer. That was AMaZING for 7th grade. You should see some of the stuff I wrote--no bueno ;)

The Golden Eagle said...

Great prologue--and I love the word Kheldar.

I hope you get some writing time soon! It sounds like you're swamped with stuff.

Tracer Bullet said...

oohh i wish i was that creative and could have done things like that with my spare time, i spent time playing games instead of creating stories

Donna Hole said...

Well, I'm entertained by both the picture, and the prologue. Sounds like a very good story plot.

My fondest wish is for a time turner. Don't tell me when you get one - I may have to plot to steal it :)


IndigoWrath said...

Hey Joshua, thanks for sharing this. I wonder if I can lay my hands on all my old ideas books? Were they hard copy or electronic? I know where some of them are, and I'd bet my folks have others stashed for posterity. And congrats on the NaNo count, by the way; the daily writing is something I did for nine months and it damned near finished me off. Indigo

Joshua said...

Nicole - A friend from high school gave me the suggestion that I have her draw her favorite part from what we read that night. Thinking about it.

confuzzled - Oh yeah, I save a lot.

Cassie - Thanks. I will get to it soon.

DEZ - Guilty.

Lass - I seem to be catching things right before they smash against the ground. Only a matter of time.

B - You're welcome. No one talks about that show, but her time-stopping power was awesome.

vic - darn.

Colleen - Nah, I love you guys too much.

J.A. - It happened at 60K. I've slowed down because I don't want it to suffer.

Nicole - Agreed! Not that it'll be right or great the first time, but it won't be complete shite either.

Emily - Maybe I needed to add "teensy" just to make it come in threes.

Misha - Maybe I'll give those few pages a read and turn it into an epic journey. I'm thinking trilogy.

Princess - My brother probably STILL doesn't know about Strong Bad.

Matthew - The problem is that the deadline was so far away when I started it, but so much has come up in the interim. It'll get done, just not by January 31.

Alex - Will do. ;^)

Stephanie - Well it sounds like you have plenty of reasons to be busy. Nit picking has to suck.

Anne - The "book" was spiral bound, the cover laminated. It's there forever.

smedette - Thanks, lady! Hope you're well.

Elisa - Yes he does! I think it's time for you to share that 7th grade writing.

Golden Eagle - That was the first thing I thought when I gave this a re-read. I think Kheldar is going to be featuring prominently in my future.

Tracer Bullet - I did that, too, but I've always had sleeping problems.

Donna - Believe me, if I had one, no one would know.

Indigo - If you find some, that would be great! Sorry the writing almost did you in. So glad that you're still with us.

Cora said...

You're THE ultimate creative soul, aren't you? :-)

AWESOME new blog layout, by the way!

Joshua said...

Cora - I try.