I had a writing opportunity drop into my lap on Tuesday. It was a very short notice thing and both wishweaver and I had to think long and hard before I agreed to it. Basically, one of my lj friends needed me to pick up an assignment for him that he was running out of time to accomplish. It looked like it would be a lot of fun, but the rub was, I had to finish the book by March 15.
Yep. 25 days to write a novel. That meant I had to roughly write 3000 words a day for 25 days to hit the mark.
Now, as you may have noticed, since the start of the year, I've been averaging over 1,000 words a day and more often than now, I've been hitting 1500 words a day. The only way I was going to hit 3000 words a day was basically write from 8:00 to midnight every night and then at least eight hours on Saturdays and Sundays. (Remember, I have a full-time job as a tech writer, so I'm in the middle of rewriting web sites, wikis and internal control documents - sneaking in writing at work wasn't going to happen.)
Now, I was told the deadline might have a little fudge factor built in, but the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was by the task. 3000 words a day for almost a month. Could I do it? Did I have the writing stamina to come home from work, eat dinner and then hit it hard?
So, I said, sure, let's go for it. I went out to the local Barnes and Nobles, picked up a couple of the new books in this particular seres, (I'd read it some time ago, but I hadn't followed it for years) and found a great book on Small Arms on the bargain bin racks.
Well, unfortunately, my friend wasn't able to pass the book on to me. His agent thought this fell into the category of "a bad idea", and I certainly can see her point. Now, this person has seen my writing before and obviously trusts me to do a good job, but the agent doesn't know me from Adam. If I screw it up, it's not my name on the manuscript, it's my friend's. His reputation is on the line and I could wind up costing him future work if I really turn in an inferior manuscript. (Note, his agent didn't say these things specifically, but if I was an agent (which, thankfully, I'm not), I'd be saying these things to him.
However, the good part to all this is my friend is going to mention my name to the editor and recommend that I get to pitch a book or two for this series.
Now, I didn't mention all this to knock my friend. He made the offer in all sincerity and I greatly appreciate the fact he thought about me, considering how many other authors he knows. Still, it might have been fun (in a masochistic sort of way) to give it a try.
However, the good thing that came out of this, and why I've been off line the last couple of nights is, for the first time in a very long time, I just sat and read for pleasure.
Yep, let me point that out again. I read two books just because I could.
See, over the past three or so years, I've probably read less than a dozen fiction books. The rest of the stuff I've read has been either writing work-related (Star Trek SCE books, the latest Star Trek novels or anthologies), hoping to get writing work-related (media tie-in books for lines I'd like to write for) or else non-fiction books for my original stuff (Japanese History, pirates, medieval fighting styles, Celtic legends, etc.)
But just reading for fun is hard to do. In fact, terri_osborne was working on an idea for a story to pitch and I recommended Gordon R. Dickson's Wolf and Iron as something she might enjoy reading. She brought up the point that she just didn't have time to read for fun any more and I had to start thinking about how long had it been since I'd just read. Heck, I think I have 35 novels on my "to be read" pile . . . good books, highly recommended to me, but I just don't take the time to read them.
Well, that's going to stop. I'm going to try and dedicate a little time, either when I first get home to de-stress or else right before bed, but there will be some reading whenever possible. I want to get back into the joy of why I'm writing. I'm a writer because I was a reader.
No, change that. I am a reader. And I'll get back into the habit again.
After all, it's just like riding a bike, eh?
OH, and I did get some writing done tonight. Added 1207 words to Steel on Target and now I think I'm going to go to bed at a reasonable hour for once. Well, reasonable for me.
With a book *grin*
Words for Today
1207 / 1000 words. 121%
Progress on Steel on Target
23324 / 90000 words. 26%
Words for 2008
55135 / 366000 words. 15%