You’d think if I had a whole day free to write, it would inspire me to write like a madwoman. Apparently, it does not work like that. I am just as prone to procrastination.
I decided to quit for the day at 608 words from this morning’s session. I am at 6,500 words total and starting on the third chapter. I am making my chapters about 3,000 words apiece.
I find I am not a very good evening writer; I usually have to force myself to do creative work at night and impose some deadline pressure, because I get too anxious in the evening times to be very productive. Usually this is because I worked all day at the day job and I try to find ways to unwind rather than wind myself up. Mornings are better for my creativity, that nebulous space between sleep and consciousness. I know this isn’t true for everyone, though. We’re all different in regards to which time of day inspires us to write more. It’s weird for me because I’ve always been a night owl, but I’ve also had to adapt to being creative around a day job.
But I am definitely starting to feel less intimidated by the process of drafting a novel. It is just different than drafting a short story. Instead of packing the inciting incident into the first couple paragraphs, now I am stretching it over the first three- to- five chapters. I am beginning to see the bones of this novel much clearer. It is kind of like stringing together a series of scenes and each scene is like telling a story in itself.
Thinking of it that way puts my mind at ease, and inspires me to turn back to my outline to draft scene-by-scene pitches. I had outlined my story up to the midpoint using the snowball method; I expected to finish this month at the end of Act Two before powering on to the rest.
Part of how I am building my confidence is reading books on writing – just like an MFA course in a box. Read a lot about writing, then write a ton. I find many of these books from Libby, my library’s app for checking out free Kindle ebooks. My library is now also doing deliveries for physical books you place on hold, of which I am taking advantage. I am currently reading a great book on plotting a novel called “Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure” by James Scott Bell. It is inspiring me to think about raising the stakes for my characters and to tighten the central conflicts in the story.
And I am having lots of fun researching as I go. Today I learned all about dry docks. I was having trouble finding color in the “telling but not showing” style of the historical narratives, so I found some Youtube videos about what dry docks sounded like to give my scene a bit more flavor. When you can’t travel or experience as much in person due to a pandemic, there are still alternative, creative ways of doing research.
I have another day off tomorrow, so I will start fresh in the morning, and maybe finally do some yoga that I keep talking about to start my day. I will get there, scene by scene.