Fiction-writing progress, 2012, week 2

The week started out great with 4 consecutive days of writing totaling over 3,600 words of new fiction. I completed the first draft of my second story of the year. Then, Thursday evening, things fell apart. I sat in front of the computer with a few hours on my hand, but couldn’t get started on something new. I turned instead to the start of the second draft of story #1 for the year, which I completed on Friday evening. I got the second draft sent out to some early beta-readers, and from the feedback I’ve gotten back, the story will need a third draft.

But it bothered me that I didn’t get any new fiction written in any of the last four days and so today I gave it some considerable thought. Some of what I thought were excuses, and I discarded them, but in other cases, I think there are some lessons to be learned and adjustments to be made. Here is some of what came from my thinking:

  1. In order to write new fiction every day, I have to have some idea of what I will be working on the next day and have some enthusiasm for working on it. This was no problem with the first two stories, but when it came to starting a third story on Thursday evening, I hadn’t thought ahead and I floundered. The lesson: Figure out what to work on next. Even if that means taking a day off between stories, it might be worth that day to give consideration to what to start next and get it straight in my head–or straight enough to start on a first draft.
  2. It is hard to write new fiction and work on second (or third) drafts of previous stories in the same day. This is doubly so with a full-time job, triply so with two kids, and quadruply so when our routine has changes and pretty much eliminated most of my time in the evenings. I’m not sure what to do about this yet. In the short term, it will likely be one or the other, unless I can get my act in gear.
  3. I planned to get my new fiction writing done before work. Every work day last week, I set my alarm for 5am, and every day I slept in until 6am, by which time, I had to get ready for work and couldn’t do the morning writing. Things would be easier if I could just get up and write. I think there are three reasons I didn’t: (1) I wasn’t sure what to work on next; (2) our new routine (Kelly back to work, both kids in school or daycare, evenings essentially wiped out) interfered; (3) I’m just plain lazy right now.

At this point, I finally have an idea of what I want to work on next, but I’m still trying to figure out how to make it a bit more manageable for me. (At present it’s a longer story than I’ve done in years.) We’ll see how things go tomorrow. Also, for this week, I’d like to try to get a third draft done on story #1. That will be a substantial rewrite in parts, but I think the major problems have been identified and are correctable, and in correcting them, I make the story that much better. It would also be nice to get a second draft of story #2 finished.

So, halfway through January, I’ve written a total of about 9,200 words of new fiction, which is still somewhat ahead of pace. But, in the first 15 days of the month, I’ve only written on 9 of them which is pretty shabby for someone who is trying to get to 500 words every day.