The Payoff of Hard Work

My drive home is short, as far as commutes are concerned. 20 minutes across town. My work is on the north side of town, and I live out south. Last night was mild, and humid as clouds rolled in, which let me drive home with the windows down.

I don’t consider myself an outdoors-y person. Hikes are nice, but I’d rather sit under a tree and read. I’ve always dreamt of kayaking, but it also scares me a little, because I find large bodies of water discomforting. Also, in nature I have to deal with that whole bug pandemic. I’ll pass.

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love the outdoors.

I crave the sensation of wind swirling around me, ripping at my hair. Of the sun shining down warmth that my skin will harbor for days. And of that salty fragrance coupled with seaweed that is the ocean.

It’s the details of nature that captivate me. And when I do find myself camping or doing uncharacteristic outdoors activities, I tend to turn into an extreme introvert.

Perhaps I should start by explaining that I am naturally an Introvert. Not uncommon for writers, I would imagine, since we spend a bulk of our time alone. What does that really mean? Introverts gain energy from time alone, spent thinking introspectively, whereas Extroverts gain energy from other people. The more people around, the more energetic the Extrovert becomes.

Yeah, just thinking about more than four people in a room talking to me is exhausting.

But, the quiet of nature, and the totally different perspective of animals, untouched by man, sets my brain buzzing with deep philosophical ideas and questions, and usually, with new fiction.

I’m not the most fun person to have around the camp fire.

Anyway, bringing this thing back around, I drove home with the windows down, inviting the night in to envelop me, and I did some pretty good thinking.

Yesterday I wrote about 2,800 words. I finished chapter 16, started chapter 17, and outlined the end of the book. I reached 49,500 words.

I started seriously working on ‘Cards’ in January. It’s May. I’ll give you a moment to count on your fingers, like I did.

So, that’s not quite five months.

‘Vessels’ ended at 47,704 words, and it took just over 6 months.

So, I felt pretty damn good last night when I realized that all this work is really paying off. I’ve written more words in less time. I am getting better at this novel writing thing, and at sticking to a routine.

I write about four or five days a week. I sit at the computer anywhere from 4-5 hours a day, but I probably only  seriously write 2-3 of those hours. Sometimes less. That has me writing about 8-12 hours a week. If I’m being good.

There were two weeks where I didn’t write a word. Boy was that a mistake.

This is one of those days where I really wished I were writing full time. I could get so much more done! Gah!

But, I had another thought last night that made me feel better in this regard. Brandon Sanderson wrote 13 novels before his 6th one was published. That book was Elantris, the book he’d written for his Masters Thesis. So, if he followed the schooling timeline perfectly, he was probably about my age when he wrote Elantris.

He wrote another SEVEN books before one was published.

I’m on my second book. All this work I’m putting in is for my learning. This is work to get accustomed to pumping out thousands of words a day, and not consider it work. These novels are the early ones, the ones that I’ll look back on fondly, and probably with a little embarrassment.

Maybe.

Or maybe ‘Cards’ is better than even I think. Who knows?

Anyway, what’s left?

Finishing chapter 17 is my goal today. It’s the last chapter before all hell breaks loose in the book. I have until 6pm to write, and I’ll probably finish 17 and get a good chunk of 18 done, if the past few days are any indication.

There are 20 chapters and an epilogue outlined. I’m getting so close to the end!

But, my brain isn’t quite ready to dig in just yet. I ate breakfast, but haven’t had any caffeine. Maybe I should. I’ve emailed caterers, and am scheduling a tasting with one for next week.

There’s so much other stuff competing with my writing time. I’m excited for when this wedding is done, and I can write with less distraction. Plus, I just want to be married already!

I’m still reading at a good rate, which I believe is directly connected to my writing success. If I stop reading I stop writing. And I definitely haven’t stopped reading. The Dark Tower is a fascinating series, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Anyway, I have work to do.

 

BZ

 

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One thought on “The Payoff of Hard Work

  1. Something that had blown me away when I finally got around to reading the Ender’s Game series was how Orson Scott Card created Speaker for the Dead first, then wrote Ender’s Game really as a short story set in that universe, more as backstory, and less as the genre-defining, life-changing classic that it is today. Let’s not even talk about the many manuscripts, drafts, and screenplays Card had worked on before Ender’s Game got picked up by a sci-fi periodical for some award, nonchalantly whisked off on its way to stardom. Obviously, the same goes for Brandon Sanderson. Sometimes, you can put in all the hard work you have in you, and yet still the Universe plays out in its out way, with its own peculiarities, on its own sweet time.
    I wish you the best of luck with all your work, and don’t forget – you have all this inside you already, at least as the essence of creativity, so you have no choice but to put it out there! The sooner and more confident, the better!
    Go be a famous author soon!!
    NB

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