A few years ago, I was done writing. I suspected it was the end of my career or maybe the dreaded Writer’s Block™!
In any event, once I told myself I quit (and the rest of the world, really), I got the itch again. But what to do? That early draft of Holland Bay was a complete mess. I had nothing in the pipeline to work on. My network of other writers was starting to disintegrate. So how do I get back to writing?
I’ve talked here before about writing about a rock star, something a friend and I had done in college. The characters were based on people we knew, people we’d made up, and even real people (which is why I would never publish this thing. I don’t want to get sued, and frankly, no harm was intended. Unpublished keeps it that way.) But I had a whole storyline around this guy that my friend and I dubbed “Himself.” So to get my writing muscles moving again, I had him tell me his story from the beginning.
I thought maybe 90-100K tops. Maybe even 150K. It wasn’t something I’d devote all my time to, but I could do it when all the writing I had on my plate was academic or revisions or sketching new material. Well, that’s what I thought in 2011 when this started. Last Friday, I made him write his epilogue after finally getting him to write the final chapter in 2011. How many words?
349,000 words. Or really short Game of Thrones fanfic.
Now some of you are looking at me and going “How’d he do that and go to school and rewrite Holland Bay and write a science fiction novel and…”
500 words here. 1000 there. Early on I had a few 2000+ word days because it was all the writing I was doing. But this project, destined never to be more than fodder for short fiction work, also was where I had a watershed moment. At first, the words came in a trickle. Then a decent flow. And then one idle weekend in December of 2011, I wrote 17,000 words. I just kept writing. No outline other than what was in my head. No plan. Just wrote.
Since then, it’s been a few sessions here and there while I revise or plan other work. I’ll need to find something new to keep original words flowing. Some people suggest that’s what this blog is for, but this exercises different writing muscles. It’s like a newspaper column which is not writing fiction. Well, it’s not supposed to be. Even when it clearly is, it’s another form of writing altogether.