Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 6 - Counting Every Word


When writing a novel that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: "House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day." "Got call this morning to say I'd got Nobel Prize for literature. Wrote less than 300 words (285) probably unusable, so lousy day." - Neil Gaiman
Congratulations to everyone who has updated me on their progress over the last week! Between everyone who's reported so far, we have written 375,299 in the last 5 days!

Anyone who undertakes a grand enterprise of any description is in it for the long haul. And it's really bloody difficult to look at the crap you've produced on a Wednesday night at 10.30pm (after the kids have been acting like homocidal screeching monkeys and everyone in the world suddenly seems to discover your workplace existed on the same day creating an avalanche of paperwork) and not think "Oh God. Is that really what I write like?"

In his pep talk for NaNoWriMo in 2009, Neil Gaiman pretty much said it best:
The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"
I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"
"You don't remember?"
"Not really."
"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."
I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.
So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.
One word after another.
I have this pep talk stuck to my wall at home, and it always reminds me that it never gets easier. You just get better at dealing with it. If you want to read the whole thing, you can find it here.

Have a good week everyone! 

4 comments:

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks for this post Julia and the pep talk from Neil! I was continuing my ST this month and am sitting at about 70k out of about 100k book... I AM AT THAT POINT and this was something I really needed to hear!
x
Rach!

Enid Wilson said...

I had this chat with myself yesterday too. Really true, we can't even despair uniquely! Thanks for the post. I have to blind type today, a lot more and faster...

Chemical Fusion

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Hi Julia,
I've updated, sent you an email, but as I can see there isn't a counter for me here, if so, it hasn't been updated. And there are so many Suzanne's and two Suzanne B's. Am I one of them. lol..
I've updated on my webstite and will continue to do so.
Thanks,
Suzanne

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Found it, thank you. :)