Writing In Public: Year 1, Month 1, Day 1

Typical start

I was tempted to write “slow start” or “rough start”, but it occurs to me that it always takes a while to get going. I’m not sure a Saturday was the best day to start a challenge like this, but it’s always easy to find reasons not to do something, so I’m starting anyway.

I didn’t have any outside plans for the day, so after burning off a few hours with television, reading books to my daughter, and taking a nap, I finally dove into my work.

Unfortunately, that isn’t as productive as it sounds. My former process involved lots of reconsidering and rewriting things, steps which usually took more time than the writing had in the first place. Though I’d like to spend my the bulk of my time and energy writing new works, my works in process are in a variety of conditions, with few or none ready to dive in and start writing. (Actually, I could, of course, but that just makes another draft, and I want to get each project down to one.) That’s one of the reasons I’m adopting Heinlein’s rules. I also don’t want to just start with a new project. I want to finish things that have been cooking for a long time.

So, my first step was to apply the new workflow to my ten or so active projects. That took a few hours, but was rather straightforward. And it felt good.

The next step was to assess these projects and begin to get them into a state where the work is writing. This will take some time, but not too much time. For instance, Paper Cuts has two stalled efforts, so far, and my plan is now to abort the earlier versions and rewrite it almost from scratch. Threshold of Vengeance also has a stalled effort that is being aborted for a fresh start. My new vision for these projects is clean and neat and should be fun to write, with each taking only a week to ten days. On the other side are projects like Taxi Adventure and Spring Rains, each of which has quite a bit of text in earlier drafts. Taxi Adventure is a particularly tangled collection of partial drafts. Most of my projects migrated quite easily to the new writing model, as they are long on development and short on actual text. By the time I’d finished migrating the files to my new approach, I’d figured out what I want to do next.

Although I can’t wait to get started on my secret series, I also want to hit it with some momentum, traction, and more skill. So I’m not attacking those projects just yet. Instead, I first want to finish the project that is currently closest to completion, which is Taxi Adventure. I think I can get that done this coming week, with a target release date of August 10th. Following that, I’d like to build momentum and skill with three projects with that should be quick and fun to finish: Threshold of Vengeance, Paper Cuts, and Spring Rains. My goal is to have a new release every two weeks, but those should go quickly enough that I can build up some time to complete at least two of the books of my secret series before unveiling the first one, because if that takes off like I think it will, I will need more pronto.

So, around one in the morning, I finally turned my full attention to Taxi Adventure. I had hoped to find an hole in the manuscript and just start writing into it, but I couldn’t quite do that. There aren’t big holes in the story; there are lots of places where only some core content has been written, but there are many, many places where the text is still a mix of different drafts that need to be patched together somehow. And before I can toss out pieces that aren’t part of the final version of the story, I have to figure out what that really is. I worked on that for a couple hours, but it will take several more to get clean. By the time I had enough around 3:30, I only had about 250 new words.

So, although this weblog post is three times longer than the count of my fiction output, I’m moving forward, on course for big things.

And having fun.

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