Discover more from TRADECRAFT
Week Two Recap
Adapting and Finding Recharging Stations
I didn’t know how tough it would be for me to jump back into the world of drafting after a couple of years of editing. That’s a lie—I knew. Or, at least I had a sneaking suspicion. Those same troublesome demons that haunt the minds of bands after the release of their first album creep into the minds of all creators with their sophomore effort. It happened to me on my second job drawing for Marvel. Then could I do as good of a job for the second publisher? It happened in design. Sure I wowed them on the first project, but maybe that was just luck, and I’m going to suck now.
Now I write the second book in a three-book series, and when I’m not writing it, I wonder how it can be anywhere as good as the first one. To overcome the inevitable paralysis this sort of thinking can lead to, I reassure myself that I wrote the first book with little to no idea what I was doing. And now I have a slightly better internal compass guiding my hand.
Beyond the internal struggle, there’s an external struggle that comes with the return to drafting—that’s the daily word count. I’m not a prolific writer, and that may be because of being a slow typist, or forty-five years of not thinking/writing with any frequency. I’d like to be a faster typist. (note there were three words I fixed in that last sentence because of mis-striking the letters in the wrong sequence) Maybe this increased speed (and accuracy) would improve my overall production? Or maybe I’d write a lot more bad stuff?
What I know to be the culprit is the introduction of newness. New settings and characters require a higher level of attention, for me, than writing scene-after-scene of the book’s core characters. With that lot, I can write anything with all the joy and intrigue they exude. But with chapters of newness, I have to take my brain off cruise control and downshift.
Despite the added work, the best thing about writing newness is meeting these characters who drive me to see what happens next. Not specifically with the plot, but with how they overcome the challenges placed around them by the other characters.
I know this slowdown is temporary, and their actions and dialog will become second-nature. And the new settings will become established backdrops and contribute to the story as needed once I lay them down. Of course, dear reader, like all matters external, once dealt with, the only thing left is you. So it all comes down to my need to become a quicker typist and hone my craft as a literal thinker.
All of this effort takes its toll, and I do what I can to recharge the battery.
Today was my monthly writing group. Not a nuts and bolts bunch of writers sharing their work, but sharing our thoughts on the writing process and life. We also talk story and share monthly updates on our progress. This gathering found two new people joining us and they brought a ton of great energy and discussion. This gathering can be a great release and opportunity to clarify thoughts on the craft. I’ve been a member of this group for five years and it’s been a significant source of inspiration and growth.
Another area I find a lot of benefit are the in-depth conversations I have with the guests on my weekly podcast. I’ve entered the fourth year of this verbal exchange and I love sharing the unique experiences and wisdom of each guest. I’m sure I benefit as much as the listeners.
The last bunch of things all fall into the self-care category. Time with my wife, films, eating well, meditation, reading, exercise, journaling, and forgiveness are parts of my mindful stew—though some I do less than I should. That’s where the last one comes into play.
Productivity picked up, as planned. I added 12,465 words to Ghost Wing. With a WAT two-week tally of 21,389.
But I’ve found the all-consuming pace intrusive to the time I want to spend with my wife on the weekends, and the other matters of life I put to the side during the week to make the word count and tend to client work. The pandemic saw to a lot more free time over the last two Write-a-thons, but things are back to the days of yore—and I’m busy. So, this brief pause is necessary for my mental and romantic health.
I’m adjusting the total word count, from 70 down to 60 thousand. Which means, 40 thousand to go. Still well within my wheelhouse at two-thousand words a weekday.
I’m sure I’ll keep pushing my daily total to see how close I can get to seventy-thousand. Because, well, that’s how I’m wired.
I’m going to write these 60 thousand words during these six-weeks of the Write-a-thon, donations or not. But I’d love this work to help raise money for a worthy writing organization. If I have to post reader chapters and do drawings on top of the writing, I’ll do it.
So, if you’re inclined to make me work harder (I asked for it) please consider making a donation in my name. Here.
We watched To Leslie this week. A small indie movie with a giant performance by Andrea Riseborough. Brutal work on her half.
We made it to Asteroid City. I love Wes Anderson’s work, going back to Bottle Rocket. But I’ve struggled to connect with these last two live-action films. Someone used the term “micro-stories,” and that’s an apt description to the sense of narrative static I feel watching these films. I play keep-up with all the bits and repartee, rather than immerse myself. I wonder if he’s trapped in a pastiche of his own design? If you love his visual and language sensibilities above all things, then go to the theater. If you really enjoy his films, rent/watch it at home. I long to see him tell another character-driven story like the Darjeeling Limited.
I still have my eye and heart set on seeing Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and I’m giddy to see the action of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. Or MI7 for the rest of us.
How goes the hunt for an agent?
No updates on Blackfire. I’ll shoot to send a few queries out this week. I have a big client pitch meeting on Wednesday, that will occupy a fair amount of my focus. Then we drive off to Detroit on Friday for my niece’s wedding!
At the very least, I’ll stage the queries to send on the following week. I need to be realistic about what I can actually get done.
Who know’s maybe I find a few quiet moments outside of the word count and client work?
Thanks for reading TRADECRAFT! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.