My Online Literary Experiment: Half of the Writing Hurdles

This Friday, when I post chapter 13, I will pass the halfway mark in my book. With that publication I will exceed 175 pages in the book, mapping out a book that will roughly be about 350 pages in length.

Those are the numbers, but they hardly express the emotional and wear and tear of the process to get to this point.

Recently, I had someone on Twitter ask me how many drafts I create of a chapter before I post it. It’s a great question and in a typical book, I would have numerous drafts of a book. There is the initial draft of a first draft when I do what I basically need to do; the other drafts are as it is updated to fit the rest of the book that is coming together; and finally the master drafts as the book is melded together into one beautiful whole.

Yet in Permanent Spring Showers that is not how it works out. I move forward, because the book moves forward. So I can only hope that the work when completed as a whole will feel like a complete whole by the end. Right now, I’m feeling really confident. That is probably the main gift reaching the halfway mark has given me.

  • Yes, writing a book like this is stressful.
  • Yes, writing a book like this puts more burden on the creative juices than one could imagine (and I have noted before it has caused concerns around a possible writing block emerging because of the pressure).
  • Yes, writing a book like this is overwhelming emotionally (My last update), moving you up and down the emotional ladder from day to day in the process.

But… there is this moment. It is usually Friday morning, when a chapter is completed and I am happy with it… and I hit publish… And that feeling, which I can’t exactly put my finger on, is awesome.

Yes, this feeling is new to me as a writer. It’s not really a feeling of accomplishment per se; it’s not like holding a book newly published (with that wonderful book smell to it). No, this is more like running hurdles… Do you know what I mean? I did this for a time in junior high (and not very successfully, might I add), but there was this thrill each time you went over a hurdle. You knew you were not done with the race, there were more to jump, but there was a small thrill knowing you did that hurdle correctly and it won’t hurt your time later.

So what I am saying is that my confidence in my ability and in the final project seems to grow with each chapter. And with the end game getting closer and closer in front of me, I’m starting to see a complete package more, a complete package different in many ways from the outline/screenplay that the book is somewhat based on.

For example, last week while out on a walk, I came up with a new idea for an ending.

I stopped. Took a deep breath… I then giggled like an evil little child.

No, I can’t do that, I told myself, readers wouldn’t like it… but some might I told myself. And it is new, I couldn’t deny that to myself. It was very, very new.

One of the few people on this planet that knows the screenplay the work is based on is my brother. So when I got a spare minute later I gave him a call and pitched him the idea. Instead of telling me I am crazy, he instead jumped on the positive band wagon. So now the positive band wagon had two on board… and there was no one I could turn to for the negative band wagon. So new ending it is!

That is one of the things I love about this process. See, when I started moving my book away from the screenplay, I had a lot of apprehension. What is this going to mean later on? Could I make this change pay off? What would it mean not just for the character in question but all of the other characters (since everything intermingles a change doesn’t ever effect only one person)? Yet, I’ve become kind of a thrill junkie around this.

I can only see this problem speeding up as I move forward, not slowing down. Confidence has this weird impact on my creativity it seems. I want more, more, more.

One of the things I am loving about the process is that something very new has emerged in my writing habits. I have traditions now emerging, and these consistent schedules and locations help my creativity to turn off and on when needed since there is an environment of safety (if that makes sense). I’ve never had this before. See, my brain knows that at this time or at this location, I am going to write… and I do.

A while back on my blog I wrote a comedy editorial about losing my favorite writing place; an editorial I feel very guilty about now. It was  “Biggby, I am sorry” (here is the link). But thanks to this new need for a schedule, I am back at my writing location, at least one morning each weekend writing and it is heartwarming wonderful. I get my grande dark chocolate (with skim milk), my beef and chedder asiago braggel, and a cookie and I am good to go. Because of this process locking in place, I can usually walk away with 8 to 12 pages of new writing after two to three hours each time… That is wicked awesome.

So, what is the assessment right now? What is my grade (without giving a letter)?

Well, I’m pretty happy with the book in front of me so far. I think the plot is working its way forward nicely and everything is falling together to make the ending I now want. I do not see anything on the horizon that is too great a concern (except some of the problematic chapters I noted in a previous update)… and when it comes to me as a writer, I am more happy than I have been in some time.

Confidence=me. I guess is one way to look at it.

Okay, all of this patting of my own back could come back to haunt me later (or cause bruises) and there is always the fear I could get lazy, but right now I am feeling a little bit of a victory. Yes, I know there are a lot more hurdles to get around the track before I reach the finish line, but I have not tripped yet.

Let me repeat, I have not tripped yet.

Chapter 13 is up on Friday.

If you liked reading the chapter (the earlier chapters can be found on the Permanent Spring Showers page), why not check out some of my published books? I had two novels published in the last few years, My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my author page here, or as an eBook on Google eBooks here.  Thanks for reading!

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