Saturday, 2 January 2010

MAKE IT HAPPEN

Hands up who's indulged a little too much. Thought so. Well, after you've joined me in making new belt holes, how about a literary challenge to purge yourselves? If you're writing something, why not commit to an extraordinary level of output? Say, double your usual. Treble. Perhaps break the back of that tricky section you've been putting off for ages. Give yourself a target: 30,000 words by March 1st; that's only 500 a day. Or four short stories.

Or if you're not writing anything, how about a grand reading adventure? A novel a week.

I've long since stopped making facile resolutions regarding health and fitness; I know I'll be back in the pub(s) by next weekend, however much I vow not to. I'll almost certainly have a Madras on Friday. But it's a good time of year to make literary aspirations. Write them down, where you can see them. Even if you fall off the wagon after a few weeks, you still have a lot of work to show for it.

I'm going to finish the first draft of this novel by the end of January. There's a post-it note on my notice board telling me as much. Then I'm going to edit it to an inch of its life.

So get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later. And just write. Until smoke issues from your keyboard. It's the only way.

13 comments:

whereimbloggingfrom said...

You're so right. Slog is tough, but there's no point in putting it off. I'm inspired/resigned to it now!

Megan Petty said...

I've made a goal of completing 55,000 words by February 20. I am keeping track of it on my blog and would love for you to stop by there sometime and give me a cyber butt-kicking if you see me slacking off. Web address is in my profile.

Ros said...

I've decided to challenge myself by writing a new piece of short fiction everyday, and blogging it.

Let's see how tomorrow works out now - need an idea.

TOM J VOWLER said...

That's impressive, Megan. I will certainly stop by and see your progress.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Go for it, whereim...

Good stuff, Ros. Look forward to reading how it goes.

I can feel the energy swelling...

Donna Hosie said...

Right now I am committing to a page of fresh writing a day and a chapter of editing old writing a day. Definitely achievable.

TOM J VOWLER said...

Like it, Donna. I tend to use re-writing as an excuse for not pushing on, but that's good if you can still produce fresh work. Good luck.

Paul Lamb said...

going off topic quite a bit: I wondered what you thought of Donna Tartt's A Secret History. Will you make a post about that?

TOM J VOWLER said...

Yeah, Paul, would like to do more reviews. I have to confess to not finishing TSH - at least not yet. I hardly ever give up on a book, but 300 (out of 650) pages in, I became annoyed at the absence of dramatic tension. I have since read two short novels, but the Tartt keeps nagging away at me, and I'm about to go back and finish it.

My thoughts on this are that I read a lot of short stories (about 700 a year at a guess) - mostly for appraisal rather than enjoyment - and this has impacted on my ability to savour such a lengthy tome as TSH. And yet I find myself drawn back to it; something about it got under my skin. I know nothing of Tartt, I'm afraid. I presume you've read it; can you share your views on it without spoiling the second half for me?!

Better still, would you like to review it as a guest?

Niamh B said...

It's a great idea to push yourself at this time of year I think. I've decided to write a poem a day. It's tough, and some of them are awful, but you're right, you have to put the work in to build up any kind of writing muscle.
Cheers

TOM J VOWLER said...

Yep, Niamh, literary muscle goes just as flaccid as, well other things that go limp in the cold.

A poem a day sounds good.

My 1000 words today have scraped past 700, but I did have to chop enough logs to outlast the current blizzard. So 300 after dinner or it's much self flagellation for me.

Paul Lamb said...

Thanks for the offer to write a guest review, but I'll decline. It's been a couple of months now since I finished A Secret History, so my thoughts aren't fresh. What I do recall, I didn't much like. It is more a character driven than a plot driven story, but it's too long for that approach to work. Plus, I didn't think the characters were very credibly drawn. Overall, I thought it was an overrated book, and I would rather not say bad things about books.

Still, I hope you manage to finish it.

TOM J VOWLER said...

That's okay, Paul. I assumed it was perhaps a favourite, when you asked - some people do rave about it - so I was also resisting being overly critical of it. As I said, don't give up on many books, but to say TSH lacks pace is a large understatement. I found Richard's voice compelling, but not sufficient reason to push on. I tend to resist overly bourgeois characters too, so when there's a whole book full of them...

Anyway, feel free to propose a review of something else in teh future should you wish.