Writing with the power of panic

I think I’ll need somewhere between five and ten good quality ebooks for sale before I stand a chance of really making a living from it.

Bearing in mind that my idea of “making a living” is pretty frugal. Last time I checked, my family of three was living quite comfortably on what the OECD considers the poverty-line for a single adult in Australia.

But as my son gets bigger I’m starting to feel the need for a bigger place to live. He won’t fit in that cardboard box forever.

So while it was exciting to publish my first ebook recently, it’s really only the start. I’ve arbitrarily set myself a June deadline for the first draft of the sequel to To Create a World. If I write 1,000 words a day that will give me about 75,000 words, but I’m expecting the sequel to be bigger than the original, so I’m counting on passing my word-count more days than not.

That’s a lot to write. I won’t get there without making a major effort, and this realisation has done something to my mind.

With my first book, I took my time. I wanted it to be right at each stage. The first draft felt right, right up until the moment my wife finished reading it and paused a long, long time before giving her opinion.  In the end To Create a World took seven drafts to complete. Some were minor fixes, others were major additions or rewrites.

So this time I’m not waiting to see if it feels right when I write. Instead, I’m using my panic over the looming deadline to keep me focused, and my knowledge that rewrites are inevitable to keep me relaxed.

It’s finally making sense why people say not to edit until you’ve finished. If I stop now, I’ll never get it done.

The literal deadline doesn’t matter too much. It’s just there to give me something to strive towards. If the story stretches the draft out to 100,000 or more I’ll keep going until it’s done. But I can’t afford to slow down or dawdle. Even when the sequel is finished, I won’t be.

While you’re waiting for me to finish, read my debut novel To Create a World. I’ve pitched it at middle-grade readers, but so far the majority of people who’ve read it (and enjoyed it) have been adults. I’m sure that’s something I’ll have to rethink in future.

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5 thoughts on “Writing with the power of panic

        • Yeah. Just realised that it could be really dark without context.
          Where I was when commenting: It’s normal for Tokyo families to stay in a 50m2 2DK (2 rooms, Dining, Kitchen) apartment. About AUD280p.w. in unfashionable central-east Kinshichou.

          So while I understand that the reality of feelings – panicked, cramped, etc. – is a theme on this blog and in the book, I should point out how the norms in our immediate vicinity can feed into those feelings. And how adaptable and resilient humans are to circumstances we find ourselves in – even subterranean lairs.

          Also watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

          • Ok that’s much less sinister.
            You’re right – there are things we could do to make better use of the space. I also have to battle against conflicting impulses to hold onto things like furniture for when we eventually move…
            Will check out UKS.

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