nyr 2012

Write 500 new words of fiction every day.

I’m already 1500 behind, because I’m sick. No big deal.

I know this isn’t as mind-crogglingly impressive as, say, Phil Tucker’s First Million Words project (site now defunct, looks like), which got him through three novels or so before it went off the rails. But much as I would like to do a NaNoWriMo or two every month of 2012, the facts are these:

(a) With a job, a job search and a baby in the present and possibly a move in our future, it’s doomed. Less relevant, actually, than

(b) I have other fictional things I want to do.

THE DANDELION KNIGHT is basically done; I need to do some polishing, gin up some samples, and query. If something good comes out of that, I’m certain to have more editing, polishing, creation of various sorts of packages, and other stuff to occupy my fiction headspace. And I might be doing some editing for other purposes, e.g. of short stories or novellas to submit to Writers of the Future or magazines, or of any new things I manage to complete on this 500-word-per-diem schedule. So I want to leave room for that.

But historically, when I’ve taken months and months off writing new words to edit, I’ve gotten demotivated. When I’m not making any obvious or measurable progress, work slows down on all fronts. So I want to make sure I’m always making just a little bit of progress on something new, something I can count and feel good about and recover from even if I drop a few days here and there, as I most likely will.

500 words a day means 183,000 words in 2012 (it’s a leap year). That means I will surely finish a draft of the sequel to THE DANDELION KNIGHT and probably make a good chunk of progress on at least one other thing. I can write 500 words in 20 minutes. I can write 500 words before I go to bed even if I’m dead tired; I can write 500 words before I leave for work without setting the alarm all that much earlier (to say nothing of how much I can write on the train). And every couple of days, I might catch fire and write 1000, or 1500, or however many.

This is much like the “12 sentences” thing I was doing a while back. If there’s a difference, which there may not be, it’s just in the recognition that writing new words has a salutary effect on revision. There’s no point in stopping writing to revise; writing feeds revision. Or so the theory goes.

Now to figure out a similar treatment for exercise…


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