1 Jan 2012

Writing in the margins

It's funny. I sit here in 2012 and think that 2011 was all bad, but it had a few sweet moments. My first pro sale. Writing Steampunk for the The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Having a poem published by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. A tiny little story down the back of The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.

But for all that, 2011 felt pretty flat for me. A big part of that was being stuck in a day job that went from being fresh and interesting to flat out soul-destroying. I spent far too many months last year being miserable about the nine-to-five, which resulted in me not sleeping particularly well and, most of the time, in no state for writing.

So I did something about it.

A few months ago I started a new job, at a much larger company. Nothing on the technical side is particularly challenging, but I'm working with (and for) some very smart people. I like going to work in the morning and when I come home at night I don't worry about it.

Quite deliberately, the new job is in Auckland city. Which means if I don't want to sit in traffic for hours every day, I have to take the ferry. 35 minutes each way. That's an extra hour of writing, five days a week. Since I started the new job, armed with a fancy new netbook, I've been writing up a storm. Finished a couple of short stories that had languished for too long. Working on finishing another couple now. Added more words to the very ambitious was-a-short-story-is-now-a-novella-might-end-up-a-novel collaboration. And I wrote a couple of children's books, which could be the hardest thing I've ever attempted.

But all of that? That's all just a warm up for 2012. This year, I'm writing a novel. How hard can it be? Well, probably very hard. But it's time.

I don't know if I'll be blogging much as I put the thing together, but I might put up the odd update. I've always been a seat-of-the-pants writer, but for this one I'll be trying to plan as much as I possibly can in advance. I'll be collecting metrics so I can measure how long it all takes. And stealing some ideas from the dayjob, I'm thinking of using a burn down chart to plot my progress. So the blogging's going to be light. But by the end of this year (and hopefully a lot earlier), I'll have a finished novel.

 That's not a New Year resolution.
 That's a promise.


Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

Yeah! Rock it!

Marie said...

So, not just a commute, but a commute on a ferry? Water always inspires me - makes my brain work more than seeing just roads and traffic flash by. Good luck for 2012!