Friday, January 26, 2007

Regular Irregularity - Feel the Love

status: 14,600

You might have noticed that I only got 600 words written yesterday. Some drawings I needed to finish took longer than I thought, and one of my darling fiance's best friends rolled into town, so it was dinner and pool in the evening. Stuff happens.

Sometimes stuff doesn't happen at all. There've been a couple of days in the two weeks since I started where I just couldn't write more than three or four hundred words. The story wasn't talking to me.

But I still got to Day 14 on 14,ooo words. And I'll get to the end of the first draft in about three months. There are two important secrets to actually finishing any endeavor as long as a novel. One is to leave the bad days behind you. So you did nothing yesterday. So what? Don't lose today's progress beating yourself up about it.

The other secret is kind of the opposite. Don't accept slack. You've got to care enough about the work to commit to it. None of us can expect fame or fortune. It'd be nice, but even making a living is a tough slog in the creative industries. There are plenty of fun and wonderful things to do with our leisure time that don't involve sitting with a keyboard or goose quill pen or whatever. You've got to love the work enough to make it a priority.

Couple of years back, I tried to take up the guitar. I practiced scales and chords, even got to the point where I could do a half-decent blues walk and play a couple of songs. But the effort fizzled. there were novels to write and comics to draw, a living to be made and a lovely young lady (the Tiny Dynamo, since she doesn't want me naming her here) whose company I enjoyed. There was a life to be lived, and I just didn't love the guitar enough to put the work in.

But when the novel goes hot, the action's coming fast and the words are tumbling over me spilling out, I'll stop everything else and write for fourteen, fifteen hours a day.

It's all about the love...

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Good advice on leaving the bad days behind you, and advice for more than just writing. I've gotten better at that over the years but still waste too much time beating myself up over mistakes that are made and past already.