So here we are, into the last couple of months of the year and approaching the end of my year of hard work. I certainly don’t think I underestimated how hard this year would be, but I could never have guessed what a rollercoaster it would be. And it’s not even over yet.
October was probably my hardest month yet. Feeling stressed and ‘behind’ on my rewrite I decided to use up my remaining holiday leave and take three weeks off in order to complete it. What followed was a blur as I worked from dawn to well past dusk, finishing the rewrite of the last few chapters and then editing them.
I was extremely pleased with my work ethic which meant that some of the day trips I’d been planning for days when I felt I should take a break… never materialised. I was working 18 hour days and by the end I was completely spent. The discipline I’ve instilled in myself meant that an impossible schedule of work got done without being rushed or corners cut.
I always said that no matter what happens from here on out, I never wanted to look back at the rewrites and feel I could have done more. In years to come back, experience will probably cause me to look back and think how I could have been more efficient, better applied my skill. But I think I can hand-on-heart say that I gave those rewrites everything.
As a result, not much more got done.
My reward for getting Black As Knight done and back to my agent was Fantasycon. I had a brilliant time, if only for the fact that I did not have the rewrites hanging over me. I’d left my last major con, with resolve to send Black As Knight to agents. I went to Fantasycon, some 6 months later, having just sent rewrites back to my agent.
And despite taking just 5 months to pretty much completely rewrite a 192,000 word novel, I went at my own pace. I probably lost some potential word count there, but I honestly can say I’m not too bothered.
As of the end of October, I’d passed my original target: Half a million words written this year. Maybe with different projects and better organisation I could have doubled that number, but to write half a million words without compromising quality is a massive achievement. As you can imagine with this and the rewrites, I’m feeling pretty good about myself.
And on top of this, Fantasycon was a success. I had a good turnout at my reading, with some favourable comparisons by the audience.
Aside from my regular GPSTracklog and Fantasy-Faction articles I’ve not done any additional writing. I’ve just not had time.
November is ‘technically’ my month off. I’ve been ordered to recharge by my agent.
November is NaNoWriMo month and it really marks the start of a plan to put Swindon writers on the literary map. It might take us a few years but we’ve got a good core group and a few plans for next year.
Soooo… I’m not only doing NaNoWriMo but I’m starting on the sequel to Black As Knight. Of course, this has meant taking all the ideas I’ve collected for book 2 and try and arrange them into some form of plot. I think I’m there although NaNoWriMo doesn’t really give me an opportunity to really mull things over. Still, I reckon a bad first draft is better than no first draft at all and I’d like to get through it before what is likely to be another round of rewrites.
So in short, October was my month of getting a lot done. Not only did I rewrite over 50,000 words but I edited the novel, including reading all 192,000 words aloud.
Friends of mine are planning their own year of hard work for next year. And whilst their aims are more ambitious in some areas and less in others, they’ve got as equally difficult time ahead of them. Even with two months to go, I’m convinced that working at this level was the thing that brought me my successes. A friend of mine always tells me that there’s no luck in writing, that if you are in the right place at the right time it’s because you subconsciously made a decision to be there then. I’m still not fully sure that I agree with him, but I echo the general sentiment that if you work hard you’ll reap the rewards. I’m constantly learning just how hard this business is and every time I think I know how much effort something will take I always find I’ve underestimated by at least half.
And, it’s important to note, that the year isn’t over yet. With two more months of the year left, I would like to get a first draft of book 2 done. A lot of that will depend on when my agent comes back with further rewrites.
And as much as I’d like to write a 192,000 word novel inside a month I think that task is even beyond me.