Friday, 31 May 2013

May 31st – 428,421.

Well the last twenty-fours have been a salutary experience – and in a good way. I’ll tell you about that in a moment, but in the meantime I’d better report on the writing, after all that is the core focus of this blog.

I kept going on the piece I started yesterday and wrapped up just before lunchtime with a word count of 3,349 words taking me to within the proverbial spitting distance of the 430k mark, which, all things being equal, should fall tomorrow.

This piece is proceeding at pace, a sure fire sign I’m enjoying writing it, and I have the whole lexicon of the plot laid out in my head where it is competing for space with another. I watched an interesting documentary last night about England’s Winter King, and the horribly repressive regime he ran, seeing plots and treachery around every corner and hiding in every alcove. Everyone knows the story of the son who overshadowed him, and of course, his many wives, but there are some interesting facts above the, then, future, Henry VIII as a young prince in his father’s court that make for a very interesting story indeed. That will be a trilogy, but for now it’s a research rather than a writing project, I have my hero, my heroine and a whole panoply of villains, including the sinister Henry Tudor, and even the tragic figure of Elizabeth of York.

Now to my shout out about something I can only class as exemplary customer service of the highest level. I know that sounds effusive, too much even, but it really isn’t. Yesterday at just before three o’clock in the afternoon I was given devastating news about our washing machine. The independent plumber I’d called out (and I stress the fact he was independent, and I’d used him before) condemned the washer for being beyond economic repair.

Within an hour, we were heading home from a large electrical chain, having ordered a replacement machine from a very helpful salesman, who took the time to make sure Marion, wheelchair bound and with speech problems, was happy with the choice. Since that had given me the chance to check on-line that his price was competitive, I was happy too. We booked their delivery service because that included unplumbing and removing the old one as well as plumbing in the new one and explaining its use.

At nine o’clock this morning they ran to confirm they would be delivering within thirty minutes, and by 9:45 they’d completed and done the job, despite me not booking a priority slot for the installation. The old machine was taken to be recycled, as was all the packaging and the exceedingly polite installation engineer talked Marion through the operation of the machine with as much patience as the salesman the day before.

So there you have it, from having a defunct washer at 3pm, a mere 18 and a half hours later we had a fully functioning new machine installed and working. Bear in mind, that they were closed for 12 hours out of that time, you can see why I’m giving a big shout out (something I very rarely do) for Currys and what they achieved for us today. My faith in big business is at least partially repaired unlike the dead washing machine.

Thanks Currys.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

May 30th – 425,072.

Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something, because today was a repeat of yesterday. I finished off a scene in the new idea from yesterday, then sat down and wrote over 2,400 words on yet another new story. This one though has me excited, and wanting to write, and it fits in nicely with a concept series with a particular publisher. I think I’ll get a few more words under the belt on this before pitching it, but it’s clearly got legs. The original w.i.p. I was working on, well that's the one my subconscious is saying leave alone for now, you had problems, remember. Damn that nagging muse.

So, with just over 500 words on the other new w.i.p. that takes me to 2,940 words for the day, and events have now caught up with me for the day.

Not a good day, although the weather is better. First the door curtain in the conservatory has fallen down, and since the polyester strings that made up the curtain were fragile with age anyway we went out to buy a replacement, ending up with voile lace vertical blinds, and they have to be trimmed to size and fitted - so there goes a good part of the afternoon.

Then, just to put the cherry on the icing, Marion put the washer on, with a full load, when we got home, and then ten minutes later, with the washer full, all hell broke out on the electrics with the RCD trip refusing to reset until the washer was switched off.

I have at least managed to remove a full load of sopping wet washing from the machine, and most of the water had drained out rather than spilled onto the floor. The washing has gone round to my mother’s for the generous loan of her machine, and we’re now sitting waiting for the repairman. Keeping our fingers crossed about the cost. At least it’s a no call out service, and a reliable one I’ve used before.

I think it would have been cheaper to have stayed away on holiday!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

May 29th – 422,132.

Well, today I did it again. Another morning when I woke up with a different, and complete plot in my head. Just like when it’s happened before, I had no alternative but to try and get a coherent first scene down on paper. Actually, in this case that turned out to be harder than I expected – I had the opening line, the first paragraph and the complete plot, but the rest of the first scene was more elusive than it had seemed at seven o’clock this morning.

Still, perseverance paid off, and by lunchtime, I had a first chapter, comprising three consecutive scenes, for a total of 3,038 words taking me through the 420k mark on the total count. More importantly the last three days have seen me stretch my buffer zone back above five days, so in writing terms everything is going well.

If only that could be said about the weather as the rain set in again mid-morning. The forecast is for clearer, drier weather up until the weekend, but alas my garden looks waterlogged, and too damp to work. Who am I kidding? That alas was purely for effect, the state of the garden is not on my priority list – I can’t work on it, so I’m not going to worry about it.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

May 28th – 419094.

Well, the weather forecast was right after all, albeit twenty four hours late – this morning it rained and by the look of the ground as I got up, had been raining for a considerable part of the night too. So that put paid to gardening as an excuse for not writing, so it was time to settle down and lay down some serious wordage.

Ah, the best laid plans…

My problem today, was all about the writing itself, or should I say this particular work in progress. For me, at least once in the process of writing the first draft of a piece, I reach the point where I’m wondering if the book is actually working, if it’s going in the right direction. Will it be saleable, will it be worth reading, and even will it be editable or salvageable.

That crisis of confidence in a piece, that feeling I’m wasting my time is very debilitating. Writing becomes hard and tortuous, and sometimes, if I can’t shake the feeling, that piece is going to be consigned to the dark corner of the hard drive and left to gather metaphorical dust while I get on with something else. Sometimes those pieces never see the light of day again, usually for a good reason, but sometimes after a few days, weeks or months, they’ll resurface, I’ll see what I’d thought was wrong, probably wasn’t, and continue or correct it.

Happily today, that feeling only lasted about an hour, during which time I managed to only write a couple of hundred words and make two cups of obligatory coffee. When I’m in that kind of mood, Marion can read me well enough to stay clear and let me sort myself out, and suddenly, I did, I was writing again. Another three thousand words later, I hit 3,301 words for the day and have reluctantly put the keyboard down to do other stuff.

 Ah, the wonders of self-doubt and self-depreciation. We all have it in one degree or another, thankfully, today turned out to be only a mild attack, a mere skirmish.

Monday, 27 May 2013

May 27th - 415,793

The weather forecast was a bit off for today – which for once, is a good thing. The anticipated rain didn’t materialise so as a result, it’s been relatively warm and most definitely dry, if a little windy. Having got the holiday washing sorted out, this meant I had no excuse to avoid the garden, and if there’s anything that is guaranteed to cut into writing time, it’s gardening.

Now for a lot of people, excluding that select group that write about gardening, it’s the other way round. They love gardening, and may well object to their writing time cutting into their chance to do a spot of gardening. For me, though, gardening is something I absolutely abhor. I love to sit in a well maintained garden, and I’ve even been known to take the laptop outside and do some writing there – but the actual maintenance, that comes much closer to “Jeeves – find me a gardener, pronto.” Not that I have a butler, manservant or maid, nor would I ever have one, but the idea of someone else doing the hard work of looking after the garden definitely appeals.

Anyway, enough of me blathering on about the ills of gardening, especially as I do not wish to jinx the current spell of reasonable weather we’re having, after such a miserable spring, too, let’s talk about the writing.

I’ve actually hit 3,040 words today, working in three distinct spells, one before breakfast, one straight after lunch, and this one that I’ve just finished, ahead of cooking dinner. In between of course, that dreaded gardening.

Still at least some things have been done, now, if only I could find the key to the shed that contains the lawnmower… Or to be precise, if only Marion knew where I’ve hidden that particular key…

Sunday, 26 May 2013

May 26th- The return – 412,753 words.

Well, hello again.

As regular readers may have noticed I’ve not been posting for the last couple of weeks, with good reason. I’ve been away on annual leave, taking in the wilds (in terms of the weather) of Cornwall and Devon in the company of my family. While I’ve been able to get several tasks done on my laptop, what I haven’t had has been time to sit down on my own and write. That’s something that has become increasingly obvious too, I need solitude to write. Other people thrive writing in a collaborative atmosphere, or at least in a room with other people doing their own thing. For me though, that’s not the case. I need solitude, and given the weather we had (particularly during the Cornish leg of the holiday), I never had the chance to sit down on my own and just write. As a result, the sum total output for the last 16 days in terms of word count has been zero, a big fat nothing, nil, zip, nada.

We came home yesterday, with two weeks’ worth of washing, and of course no end of little jobs, not to forget the almost bone-numbing tiredness of a six hour drive home. So today was the first chance to sit down and solve an issue. A simple but very important issue. Could I pick it up again where I’d left off? Could I return, immediately, to the routine of producing 2,800+ words a day, could I still write?

For me, there was a big issue here, if I couldn’t I would slip behind the curve on my target, and quite possibly end up abandoning the quest to write a million words in 2013, in as public and ignominious a fashion as possible. So, you can understand, why, when I started writing at about twelve o’clock I found my fears were unfounded. Two and a half hours later, I’ve hit 2,828 words and my fingers are itching to do even more, although I won’t do so. I'm also still more than 12,000 words ahead of that metronomic schedule.

So, I guess the slogan of the year applies “Keep Calm and Carry On.” For this writing addict, normal service has been resumed.


Thursday, 9 May 2013

May 9th – 409,925.

Well, last night I had a long conversation about my, then, current work in progress with my business and critique partner, Paulette. The question tabled, was whether to finish the book where I had it and then think about a sequel or the alternative, to write another couple of scenes, as mentioned in yesterday’s blog. In the end she helped to persuade me to leave it where it is, and use the additional material to work on a sequel at a later date.

That meant I would need to start another book the next time I wrote. I had planned to take today off and not write until the weekend, but overnight, my slightly sleep deprived mind, which refused to let me rest reached its own decision, and as a result the addiction kicked in and I started another work in progress today. This one is again a sequel to one I finished earlier in the challenge, so at the moment I have four potential sequels, two third books of trilogies, three brand new ideas (with about 3,000 words written on each) and a couple of other books started some time ago. All of these are waiting to be written, once I’ve done with this one.

I’ve done 3,331 words today, on a day I’d scheduled as a rest day. That’s patently ridiculous, and I can see this challenge ceasing to be a contest of me versus the world, and simply becoming a way of life – anyone want to give odds on a twelve million word decade? Quite honestly at this moment, either I can do something that daft, or someone will shoot my muse – probably me. I ask you though, would that be a crime?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

May 8th – 406,594.

Well the bill for the car wasn’t bad given the work that had to be done, nevertheless it was way more than I’d expected. Guess I’m just have to go on my uppers and beg for a couple of hundred more people to buy my books in the next few days to compensate. Hah. Like that’d work. I’ll have to pay the bill something like three months before the royalties would come due anyway, I wish non- authors understood that, most don’t

Still, in between ‘life breaks’ I did manage to get a decent stint of writing (3,220 words) done on this work in progress, I just have to decide if I’ve just written the climax to the book, or if it’s a false summit and I need to add another linking scene and then the big climax. Despite intending this one to be a stand-alone novella, I suspect there’s enough material and life in the story for a sequel. Damn it! Why do I always do that? Sometimes I set out to write a series, but sometimes, it just kind of happens all on its lonesome. I do have a problem in this book though, there’s a sequence where the two protagonists spend about 1,000 words moralising about their actions, and to be honest, reading it through the day after it was flagged for attention. It either gets cut entirely, or it gets replaced with a different conversation, nobody needs to hear that, not even me!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

May 7th – 403,374.

I shouldn’t complain about the hot weather, after all we’ve just come out of a miserable winter and a shockingly cold and wet spring, but it was way too hot this morning, stiflingly so. As a result, guess who was up early, and managed to get 2,000 words written before breakfast – yep, me.

Today is exceptionally hectic, with the car in for its annual MOT which is of course another large bill to pay. In fact I've just spoken to the garage, to find it needs work on the front suspension (expected), rear brake (half expected) and exhaust (surprise), so that bill is going to be even bigger than ever. The garden is desperately in need of attention, and since it’s warm and sunny, there’s no excuse for being indoors. Besides, the house is still hot and stuffy, so I’m going to give in and go outside for the rest of the day. Still at least I’ve managed to get my quota in – hitting 2,973 words in total this morning.

This evening is going to be busy too. I have a critique group unless it’s cancelled, and I have three e-books to upload and release. As I’ve said before and will say again, there’s no rest in this business, at either end of it.

Monday, 6 May 2013

May 6th – Sailed through the 400,000 word mark.

Feeling somewhat elated about today’s progress, even though I anticipated it, as managing 3,245 words today has put me over the top of the four hundred thousand word mark, hitting 400,401 words in total. This is over 20 days ahead of the metronomic schedule. In fact, if you added this blog into the total you’d add another 25,000 words to the total achieved, putting me another 9 days, in total almost a complete month, ahead of target.

I can only say, writing at this kind of word count has become an addiction, and it’s over two months since I missed a target, and then by only a couple of hundred words as that particular story finished just before the word count reached its mark.

I can report our cherry tree is finally in blossom too, and the sun is shining, which means one thing for me. I have to haul this pasty white carcass outside and hit the garden which has been long neglected through this harsh winter. I did manage to get the lawn mower out yesterday and trim the back lawn, so today it’ll be the turn of the front one, and then start looking at tidying up the shrubs. Everything is about three to four weeks late this year thanks to the miserable weather, the forsythia looks a picture but I suspect the Virginia Creeper is dead and I’m worried about my granddad’s hosta in the front garden. That plant has survived five moves, and three generations of the family – I’m hoping it’s simply late, after all its growth normally follows the cherry tree blooming, which is itself late this year.

Stop press: The Virginia Creeper has buds on it – it’s not dead, it’s alive!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

April 5th – 397,156.

I had another one of those insomniac type of night, waking really early, and I do mean early. As a result by 9am, yes you heard me right, by 9am, despite organising breakfast and getting Marion up, I’d managed to hit 3,386 words. Effectively leaving the rest of the day free to do whatever, rather than worrying about getting my writing stint done.

Tomorrow looks like a sure thing to pass the 400k mark, and that’s another great milestone to be able to look back on, although I’m not counting my chickens just yet. In fact, I potentially have the time later to put another stint in and hit the target today, but that would mean missing Endeavour, and I’ve got into the series now, so I might have a Sunday night off. The problem for me though is that Netflix have now released season 2 of The Borgias, and I’m up to episode 5 already, and that story is equally gripping, although the nudity count is rather higher than that of Endeavour. Given the snooker is also on TV today and tomorrow, for the first time in a very long time I’m going to have a choice of interesting viewing.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

May 4th – 393,770

I managed to get a good writing stint in this morning and completed 2,000 words in very short order. Unfortunately retail therapy intervened and I had to put the keyboard down and pick up the driving wheel.  It was quite a few hours before I managed to put a second stint in on the keyboard, resulting in a further 1,300 words to give me a total for the day of 3,319, over 500 words more than the target.

So in writing terms, everything is looking good. This work in progress, as it happens a novella is building toward the climax nicely, and I’m about on target to finish it off just about short of the 40k mark. That will take me comfortable past the 400k mark on the challenge, close to three weeks ahead of schedule.

I’m glad I’ve got that far ahead, I’m reaching the point where I don’t have enough editing time to knock the earlier first draft manuscripts of this challenge into shape, I’ve managed to do that with one, but not the rest. Now I need to get those done, so I might take a week or so to do that and then pick the writing up.

Therein lies the rub, of course, I’m addicted to the writing every day gig, now. Putting it to one side is going to be a serious case of cold turkey, and that is an experience I don’t want – ever!

Friday, 3 May 2013

May 3rd – 390,451.

At least it’s been a bit quieter on the ‘life’ front today so I’ve managed to get a good writing stint done this morning. As a result I’ve managed to bank a total of 3,244 words, taking me up and past the 390k mark, and I am now, officially, 19 ½ days ahead of schedule.

‘Life’ issues will no doubt intrude during the rest of the day, rather more than they did this morning, but with the words already under my belt I don’t need to worry about that, unlike yesterday.

There are still a number of crisis points to deal with, family wise, but I suspect after the upheavals last week things should quieten down now, at least everything is out in the open and people can understand what’s been going on. Sorry, if that comes across as a bit cryptic, but the issues are not really mine to disclose, even though they have had an effect on the way I have to budget my time.

Instead it’s time to ‘accentuate the positive’ and move on, and that, to all intents and purposes is my intention. Oh dear, I just read that sentence back to myself, what a marvellous tangle of mixed metaphors if ever I saw one. Unless of course, you can come up with a better, and equally deliberate, one.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

May 2nd – 387,207.

Today has been one of those days, and despite my good intentions my writing time has been completely derailed, and then has grown more and more disorganised as the day has gone on.

It started out with a weird problem with my laptop, when my internet connection was fine but I couldn’t get into any web site at all – in either IE or Chrome, both of which I run. There were answers out there on the web, but that meant digging out the old laptop and firing it up. Several failed attempts latter I finally found out how to fix a damaged websock, and a completely corrupted TCP/IP stack. For those techies out there, you know what I mean, and probably how I fixed it. For the rest of you, I suspect, like me, you don’t really want to know any more than that, I know I don’t.

In the process I have had to restore all my browser add-ins so nothing freaking worked properly for a couple of hours. That’s enough time to have put in my writing stint, or at least the bulk of it.

Several false starts, interruptions and family “crises” later, I have managed to put in the last stint and finish with a respectable 3,050 words for the day. Something like six hours later than planned. Ah well, at least there’s snooker on the telly.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May 1st – 384,157.

The rest of today is going to be a very hectic one, with a lot of personal business to take care of, so as a result I needed to get my writing done first thing, or miss my target for the day. Since hitting the target has become an obsession, almost an addition in its own right, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise to find I hit the target just after 11 o’clock this morning.

Now though, it’s time to put the writing and publishing to one side and get on with life issues, not always the easiest thing to do for a writer, and especially not for me at this moment as I feel driven to complete this manuscript – mainly because I have three or four others I want to get on with!

There is one good thing though, the sun is shining and it is quite warm out right now, which is an improvement over the last few days.