I wasn’t planning on talking about this, but I’ve been putting words down on a new novel, now, every day for the last five weeks. Thirty-five days in a row. It’s not a huge accomplishment, in the overall scheme of things. I once wrote 450 days in a row, which I still think is pretty impressive. My next longest streak after that was 40 days in a row, when I was writing Shattered. This one comes in at number three.
A friend of mine and I have had multiple discussions about streaks vs the need to take days off. I’m not going to rehash the argument here, because we’re both right. I think getting and staying on a streak is useful as a way to keep the momentum going, and he thinks you need days off to recharge.
For me, if I take days off, I worry that I won’t come back for weeks, which has been proven to happen, time and time again. So when I get a streak going, I’m really, really excited about it, because it means words are going to get written, and books are going to get finished.
I don’t think I’ll ever write 450 days in a row, again. I might take a couple days off between books. But again, I might not. While I’m on a streak, I wanna ride it while I can.
What do you think?
What I’m Reading
I finished the available Cradle books by Will Wight, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next one, which is supposed to be the last. So I had to pick something new to start, and I ended up picking two things. The first, which has had more time spent on it, is Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, and the second is Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erickson. There’s a good chance I’ll still be reading at least one of these next week. See you then!
I had a good week of writing. The story has taken a bit of a twist that I’m really pleased with. The whole thing will likely require some major redrafting of the opening, if I ever decide to publish it (spoiler: I probably will, even though it was intended to be a learn how to ride a bike again kind of thing), but I’m super okay with that.
A note to new writers out there. If you hear writing advice, check to see who’s giving it to you. If you see some advice about how to start your story (for instance), and you go and check to see what they author has written and see they’ve only written two books, read their openings. See if they follow their own advice, and then see if you like their openings (or whatever is relevant to the advice they’re giving).
I watched a video from a young author (young in book terms, it turns out), who gave the “standard” advice about what NOT to do when starting your story. Don’t start with exposition, don’t start with a character we’ll never see again, don’t start with a boring day in the life, don’t start with your character waking up in bed. So I looked up their writing, I found two published books. I read the openings. One started with a dream sequence, and then they woke up in bed. In the other, they woke up in bed to see it snowing outside. Couldn’t follow their own advice.
Also, don’t follow my advice. I don’t know what I’m doing.
What I’m Reading
I’m still reading Will Wight’s Cradle series, but I’m in the middle of the last available book (Dreadgod). I dread finishing it, and having to wait for the final book in the series (which I think should be out this year), but I’m having so much fun reading it that I don’t want to put it off.
I’m still trying to work out when to post these things. Thursday is as good a day as any, I suspect. In any case…
I’ve now written 22 days in a row, which equals my longest streak since 2013. I last wrote 22 days in a row in 2014, which was basically the last time I felt really productive. I’m still not writing at a pace I would consider really productive, but every word added to the story is a word I don’t have to write any more. In other words, the story is getting longer, and for me, that’s all that matters at the moment.
I don’t know if you’ll ever see this particular story. It’s all seat of the pants writing. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m making up the world as I go. It’s an exercise in building a writing habit.
Once this story is done, I’ll be picking up work on something called Sorcerer’s Bane, which is a series I started to write several years ago (the genesis of the story actually came to me as part of an assignment during a writing workshop over a decade ago). The first book is already “complete”, in that it told it’s arc of the story, but I’m a different person than the person I was when I wrote it, and the story as written no longer fits with how I want the story told. So I’ll be rewriting it from scratch. I expect it will take a few months.
I’m on the fence about how I’ll release it – whether I’ll wait for them all to be finished, or if I’ll just release them as I finish them. I have a habit of not finishing series, and that’s a habit I want to break.
What I’m Reading
This week, I’ve been reading the Cradle series from Will Wight. I’m currently on Book 8: Wintersteel, and I’ll probably have the remaining available ones finished by next week. I’m not a book critic or a reviewer. But if I were, I would say that, for the right type of reader, they are fantastic. If you enjoy watching the protagonist struggle to improve himself again and again and again, these might be for you.