By the middle of December this year I want to have released all five books of the Isaac’s Story: London series. I want to have the first book of the next series (Isaac’s Story: Hong Kong) more or less ready to go for January. I want to have completed Season 1 of Dead Men.
By the middle of December, which is three months away.
I’m not going to lie (though I’m sorely tempted to make myself seem superhuman): I’ve pretty much got book three and four done already. Book two drops this weekend, meaning I really only have to write book five and the rest of Dead Men. Easy, right?
The word count on Dead Men episodes runs to about 13k. My estimate for the word count of book five of Isaac’s Story: London (currently titled The End) is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80k to 100k. Plus I have to leave time for editing and writing blurbs (blurbs are the devil), and a hundred other things that go into publishing a book.
Just taking the word count above, excluding the first book of the next series, that’s somewhere between 130k and 150k words.
Bugger me, that’s a lot of words.
I’ve done it before. I’ve done ten thousand words in a day, for three or four days straight, when I’m not working the day job. With the day job I can probably manage five thousand words a night, if I’m dedicated about it. That’s a month of writing to get my plan finished, plus a couple months of editing to get it legible.
But, see, I’m also very lazy. In the last week I’ve only written four thousand words of fiction. I’ve re-written the backmatter for all my current titles (backmatter is all the crap that isn’t story in the back of a book), and come up with some tweaks for the blurbs of everything I’ve published. I’ve bought a few ads for next week and fixed a few almost invisible formatting issues with the paperback versions of Dead Men.
But I haven’t been writing enough fiction. I can feel the stories bouncing around in my head, ready to go. Raring to go. And still, only four thousand words.
I think I know what it is: I’m looking at the mountain ahead and not at the day of hiking I have to do to make it into the foothills. I’m working out in my head how many steps (words) I’ll have to complete to summit the mountain (finish my damn books), when that isn’t what I have to do. Not really.
What I have to do is what I’ve done almost every day of my adult life: write a few thousand words. Writing a few thousand words is easy. The first few hundred are a pain, the next thousand are a bit slow, and then you’re in the story and hours have gone by and you need to get up in twenty minutes to go to work.
Plan for the big goal by building a thousand little goals, then complete them one by one. I don’t have to write all the words, only the words for today. Do that regularly, and you’ve scaled a mountain (for the purposes of this now ridiculous simile it’s a word mountain, like a mile-high stack of scrabble tiles or something).
Everybody knows this, and nothing I’ve said here is new information. I had to write it down though, because I think with my fingers on a keyboard and I needed to get the idea out there.
Now I have to get back to polishing the blurb for The Algorithm (Isaac’s Story: London 2). Writing the blurb is harder than writing the damn book, and I’m terrible at it (which is why I wrote all that gibberish up there instead).
Blurbs are stupid, and I’m too lazy to get better at them.
I’ll put a few thousand words of fiction down too.