Friday, 12 September 2014

80,000 Words

Apparently I need to write 80,000 words. No one is asking me to and I have paid writing work to do instead, but I need to write 80,000 words for free. I don't know exactly where this impulse has come from but it did spring up suspiciously soon after I read that an average novel is about 80,000 words.

I've wanted to write a novel since I was about 11. Once you've gone this long without succeeding you begin to suspect that you're a loser. You could safely say that I'll probably never write a novel. Even now as I write this blog post about needing to write a novel, I know that I probably will never write a novel.

Certainly the strategy I've employed thus far, of biding my time, while enjoying inspirational thoughts that occasionally spill over into frenzied sessions where stay up all night filling pages in notebooks that never get looked at again and wake up finally the next afternoon with a cold, isn't working.

I've had ideas for books. Several novels of mine have been talked about. Pretty much only by me, admittedly, but I have done a lot of talking, enough to make up for everyone else's indifference. These days I get the sense that it'd be best to keep quiet. I don't so much have my tail between my legs as no tail at all, which is especially embarrassing as I've gone gone round telling everyone that my tail is the best, but it's in the post, so you can't see it just yet.

Having laboured, in an idle fashion, over manuscripts for The Sunflower, In the Spiders' Nest and countless other incomplete opuses, I feel a different approach is needed. My grand tactic is to stop messing about. I will write a novel. And I won't mention it outside of this blog. Instead, I'll simply get on with it.

The fact is that at this point it doesn't matter if I write a good novel or not, I just need to get the monkey off my back. As such, I'm try to think positive and that means focusing on the fact I'm only 80,000 words from the finish line. All I have to do is knock 800 words off that target every single day and I could be done in a hundred days. I'll be done writing by December 4th. Actually, hold on, that can't be right. Let me check. Turns out I wouldn't be finished until December 21st. I was so far out that it calls the whole project into question.

Anyway, if I allow myself 30 days to edit the mess I've created by December 21st, I'll be completely done, with a novel, possibly a very bad one but still a novel, on January 20th.

Let's do it. No more needs to be said. There's no time to waste. I need to think of a plot.

I'll probably post updates on here. If you ask, I'll even upload some glimpses of the, sure to be, awful drafts.

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