Monday, September 16, 2013

Now and Then

About a year ago, I began my final year in college. Now, I have friends doing the same thing. While their first day provided them with opportunities to catch up, to cheer, to drink tea in each other's company and to plan a year's worth of events in the Clubs and Socs calendar, I slept in.

What a weird parallel.

It's truly sunk in, now, that college is over for me. Rather than getting to see my friends five days of the week, I have to get one of them to let me into the building the next time I'm in the area. I can't just wander on in myself at any time of the day.

Work, while sometimes-exhausting, is finally providing me with the opportunity to work more hours, though, which is nice. So, rather than spend my days at home pretending I have the motivation to write all day every day, I get to earn money selling books and magazines and newspapers and stationary to people during the day, and moonlight novelling when I get home. What a life it is.

That sentiment was almost entirely true, too. In reality, I haven't been writing too much lately. Tonight's the first time in a while that I wrote some fiction. Okay 'some' is an understatement. I set out to write 2500 words, and I did. I have a target for myself, to write and edit a novel (of 75,000 words) in a month. It's not impossible, but it will be difficult.

Let's break down my week: I usually work at least two days. Sometimes up to four. These days, if they're early starts, leave me with an evening to write. An evening allows me about two to three hours to write.

When I'm not working, I have one day that's almost completely written off for family stuff. (I'm going to try test that theory this week, but that's probably going to be the case.) That leaves two days to do something. What I'd like to do is actually get out of the house at least once per week that isn't just for the cinema, so we'll see how that plays out. That leaves one day to write.

If I worked all day, I could - in theory - crank out five thousand words in a day without feeling like I've lost a whole day. I'd still have time to eat and to watch some television.

The latter is the problem: it's too easy to watch something just for the sake of it. What's worse is that I've been doing it instead of reading, when reading is exactly what I set out to do. I think in those cases I need to use my iPod instead, since it's the background noise I want from the television.

Going by this half-assed template for a week, I still have enough time to write the book. The editing is the more difficult part to include in the plan, because it could take a long time. I have a deadline, damn it!

As well as this Book-in-a-Month business, I'm also hoping to read a book a week. That's not too difficult in theory, so long as I stay away from repeats on television. I'll still watch new shows - like the season finale of Supernatural, and Agents of SHIELD when it begins - but I'll probably stay away from something I've already seen if it can be helped. Plus, I've got breaks in work to read during. A full day in work gives me an hour lunch and a half-hour break to read (and drink tea), and that's how I've been getting through a couple of books lately, but I need to give reading some more time during the day.

Let's put all of this into context with last year. I was writing my Research Paper last year. When I finished that, I immediately set about writing a short, quick and hopefully humorous play for Drama Soc. I had a couple of days to crank out a twenty minute script.

Funnily enough, I kind of plan on doing the same thing once I've done the book in a month. I've got it in my head again to write a play, and to actually send it in to theatre companies for production. Wouldn't that be wonderful, to have a play on stage? Anyway, it's an idea. It's an idea without an idea for a play, but it's there, and it'll grow and by the time the book is finished I might have an idea of what to write about.

Following that, it's just a case of trying to get my creative juices going. If I do a repeat of what I did today, it'll mean beginning to write the play after only five minutes of planning. Seriously - that's all the planning that's going into this novel. I've been mulling it over in my head for a long time, after an idea from a few years go became this one. I'll probably have to plan it a little more formally soon, to get some idea of where it's going, but for now I've got this book that's planned on a single A4 sheet of paper, in barely-legible hand-writing, as a mind-map. Sometimes I write out a thorough plan - especially for something that's to be written in such a short period of time - but for this I want to see what happens when I just let go.

That, I think, has been a problem. Trying to control too much, and then not doing anything. So, I'm letting go. I'm writing with a half-plan, I'm reading a variety of different books, and I'm going to allow myself to relax about life a little bit, while I'm still allowed. I couldn't do it last year, but things are different now. I'm different.

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