I didn’t get any word count out this week. I’ve made plenty of notes, sure, but they’re spread across papers and apps where they don’t add towards the “official” count.
It’s been a week of thinking.
Lack of progress
I’m not going to be one of those folks who wants to be an author but “doesn’t have time”.
Oh boy, do I ever have the time. I only work my day-job from 8am to 5pm, then the evenings are mine.
I’m not lacking time. I’m not lacking anything that’s beyond my control. I’m lacking health and mindset.
I don’t think it’s normal to get home at 6pm and go straight to bed. I don’t think it’s normal to be that wiped out by only nine hours of work.
My colleagues work just as hard as I do, then go home and take care of their kids. Other folks go out for a meal, or to watch a movie.
Other folks, even, go home and write a novel.
So, I have a feeling I’m doing something wrong.
Am I getting enough sleep? Most likely not. But does anyone?
Am I getting enough exercise? Doubtful. I walk about 5km per day Monday to Friday, but it’s hardly a workout.
Am I eating healthily? Good lord, no. I survive on pre-packaged sandwiches, crisps and coffee. At work, I comfort eat until I’m bloated, and then I’m done.
It seems a bit obvious to think that maybe I’d have more energy in the evenings if I ate healthier during the day. More exercise would certainly help, and a couple more hours in bed would give me one hell of a boost.
I’m going to try cutting the crisps out of my day, and replacing them with fruits and nuts. Maybe a bit that natural energy will stick around to 6pm.
I despise analysis paralysis. It’s in my nature to take a moment to consider a situation, then go with my gut. I reckon it’s better to plough into a bad decision and reverse out, than to freeze and wait for certainty.
But damn, that nature isn’t playing out in this novel. I suppose the truth is that — despite all the planning I’ve done so far — I’m scared to start writing the first draft. I’m trapped in a loop of endless planning.
There are some things I’m not scared of. I’m not scared of the book languishing unsold at the bottom of Amazon’s library. I’m not scared of the opinions of strangers.
What I am scared of is ridicule from folks I know and respect. I’m scared of my forthright colleagues picking it apart. I’m scared of my reader friends telling me it’s a fine idea, but that I’ve told it terribly.
After all the books, blogs, videos and podcasts I’ve consumed where authors have told me “anyone can write a novel if they just put in the effort”, I’m terrified that I might found out that — even with all the effort in the world — I just suck.
I can push that anxiety away, if I’m feeling strong. I remind myself that I’d much rather be known as a failure than as someone who never even tried. Then, I can think about writing.
And then that opens up a whole other stream of anxiety.
I’m scared that this story too ambitious for a debut novel. But — I keep telling myself — what’s the point in not being ambitious?
I’m scared that I just don’t know how to tell a story. But — I keep telling myself — I’ve been learning for a couple of years now, and it’s astonishing to remember what I didn’t know back then. I know the theory; I just need to put it into practice.
I’m scared that I’m trying to prove that I can do something, but everyone’s going to pick it apart and prove that I can’t. But… well, I don’t really have a comeback for this one.
The Writer’s Journey podcast
I’m loving The Writer’s Journey! I’m a big fan of Michael La Ronn’s work — I’m currently enjoying his Moderation Online series, and the vividness of his intro to episode 7 gave me goosebumps — and I’m loving this down-to-earth podcast.
I submitted a couple of questions to Michael about his outlining process, and he answered them in episode 8 last week! Awesome! I won’t spoil the answers, though. Go and listen or read the transcription.
And Michael, thank you for the kind words!
Goals for next week
I haven’t achieved any goals for a very long time now, but that’s no reason to not set more.
My goal for next week is to… just to carry on wrapping up the story beats for the three main characters. And I want to spend an hour every night on it.
Oh yeah, and let’s try eating some fruit, too.
There. Let’s see how that goes.