July Progress: Lessons in Transition

July has been a curious month of transition.

Category: diary

label_outline tag Writing Progress

There’s an odd feeling seven months into a goal. I’m obviously behind, but there’s still a chance that I could redouble my efforts. So perhaps I’m a little deluded. Yet, my underlying objective is still in reach.

How did July shape out? At 410 words a day (wpd), which leads to 150,000 words a year (wpy), I should have written 12,710 words in July. Instead I wrote abotu 5,000, putting me 8,000 words behind. The August requirement is the same as July, so to recover from July I will need to write 21,000 words in August. That’s 260 wpd more, or 670 wpd.

For 2014, I am 29,982 words behind my goal. This month I added some additional information to my progress check. To recover in:

  • 14 days = 2,600 wpd
  • 30 days = 1,423 wpd
  • 60 days = 916 wpd
  • end-of-year = 611 wpd

The recovery pace includes the fact that my deficit would otherwise continue to grow by 410 words. That means I have to write my 410 words, and then a portion more. The 30 day goal is about a NaNoWriMo pace, 50,000 words in 30 days. My average over the year is 264 words (96k wpy).

The 2014 writing pace was always a stretch goal.

Atmospherics. During this time, we had a family vacation for a week. I finished the Lucation first draft and started in on Imbroglio. I’ve probably said this elsewhere, but Imbroglio is where the Postal Marine Series began as an idea in 2003. The plot was everywhere, which led me to break it into a series. The plot is still a mess and I’m having to take time just to figure it all out.

Since I write multiple-POV (points of view), I need to revise the plot down to just those who matter. For the whole series, that’s Bophendze as protagonist and Litovio as confidant. My antagonist is in three persons, so logically I have to find a way to merge them into one. This is made more difficult since the three of them are astrophysically separated by billions of light years. This blog post is where I first documented the issue, and as I write a solution is forming.

Time to Change Plans? Yes. As I enter into the eighth month of my 2014 writing plan, I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” Or, in the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” I recently reviewed goals I set in 2012. It was a three-year plan. One of the objectives was to write four of the Postal Marine Series by the end of 2014. I have two published (Bellicose, Scintilla), one being perused (Luctation) and one in draft (Imbroglio). If I get Imbroglio done by year’s end, then I will have obtained a three-year goal. Does the Three-Year Plan trump the One-Year Goal?

If it did, then I have about 54,000 words remaining. That pace is 360 wpd for the remaining 151 days in 2014. At a regular writing pace, I would finish by Halloween. This would also give me time to revise Luctation. My 2014 goal states that I have 94kwords to write by year’s end. I would still need to write 40kwords after I finished the Imbroglio draft. When I revise Luctation, I might add 7,000 words. So the 2014 goal requires that I start on another novel and have it roughly half complete.

I don’t have another novel in me—yet. Luctation was plotted before I started this year, and I know what needs to happen in Imbroglio so I can fix the plot and finish it. Since my overall plan is to start in another series in 2015, I’ll need some of 2014 to start developing the series. Practically speaking, I’ll only get one book done next year. But just as I’ve done with Postal Marine Series, I’ll have 16 books sketched out and four plotted in 2015.

The most important thing to remember with any plan is that it is made without awareness of the future. Success in planning is the ability to adapt when the need changes. I made the origina 2014 goal without consideration of my larger goal or my actual need. With seven months of data, I’m able to look at the conflicting goals and needs a bit more realistically.

My plan for the balance of 2014 is to finish Imbroglio and revise Luctation.

Goal for 2018. I’m already starting to look at my next Three-Year Plan. Ideally, I would have four books in the next series complete. That’s four books in three years and a writing pace of about 100k wpy.

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Photo Credit: Man with dog rowing across a still lake. (Hartwig HKD/Flickr under CC BY-N.)