"...not giving myself a deadline" turned out to be the key to writing a book.
The introduction of "No Plot, No Problem" discusses what the author, Chris Baty, found to be necessary in order to get your book written...in one month.
It turns out I wasn't the only one who thought that I should wait another 30 years to finish "my novel". Waiting to be at an age full of wisdom and enlightenment is kind of silly...
He also reminds the reader that some of the best stuff gets done when you are really busy..."hectic pace forces you to type with a fleet-fingered desperation". When I look back at my own "writing" I realize how true that is. My best essays and reports were always done in a day or just a few hours before presentation. The adrenaline rush would force me to focus on all the data that had taken weeks, sometimes months to gather. When I take time to mull over words and expressions, I tend to get wrapped up in unnecessary details and end up with nothing worth turning in.
Then came a moment of zen. I had just finished reading a book by Ray Bradbury, and here in this guide book Baty quotes him! This has got to mean something right?
"Your intuition knows what it wants to write, so get it out of the way." I know what I want to write! I know... I know... I do?
According to chatpers 1 and 2 here are a few things I need to do before I start my "Sparta writing month".
1) Make a deadline. Preferably start at the beginning of a month so that you end with a clean cut...it adds drama and a feeling of accomplishment. Which means I am already starting on the wrong foot because today is the 8th...oops.
2) Aim for 50,000 words. Apparently, a lot of great novels are pretty short. The Great Gatsby and Brave New World are about the same length! So, I don't have to aim for Wealth of Nations or Anna Karenina. That's cool.
3)Recruit family members and friends for support...my husband is...watching TV right now. I'll tell him later. As for other family members and friends...in other words, you : consider told.
Baty also recommends bragging. It is supposed to make me too embarrassed not to finish my book.
... ... ...
My novel is going to be great! I am going to be a novelist very soon.
Bragging : check
...my stomach is starting hurt...
I have 7 more chapters to go AND I have some "homework". Baty also advises that for one week at the end of the day you should write down everything you did. This is for you to look at your week from a different perspective...sort of weed out the stuff that you don't necessarily need to do, like gawking at the TV for two hours a day or web surfing for 3 hours a day...It doesn't mean you quit this forever, it is just for the month you dedicate to reach this goal.
So, while I finish reading the book, I will also start this homework. That will be my next blog entry, hopefully before I go to bed tonight. (The author says to do this with a notebook and use highlighter pens and stuff, but I choose to embarrass myself from head to toe and do this online instead.)