Whether it’s the influence of a new Time Lord or the simple product of growing old, I’m not sure, but the time between my last blog post and this has simultaneously felt like a blink and an eternity! It has felt like a chaotic whirlwind at times, and yet I can barely remember setting my previous writing goals and the challenges that may or may not have arisen in tackling them. For this reason, it may end up being a rather shorter and sweeter post this week which you, as the reader, may consider a blessing or a curse (I won’t be offended either way, I promise…).
Target Number 1 – Add 3,000 words to my novel manuscript.
STATUS: Achieved 😊
In theory, I had two weeks to meet this goal, but knowing I would be away from my laptop for the majority of that time I took the decision to set a similar goal to what I would usually set myself in a week. Turns out I was overly cautious, however, for not only did I meet that three-thousand-word target; I surpassed it by nearly four thousand words! This wasn’t simply a case of double the word count for double the time though, as all of that was written before I went away. Before I get too carried away, I think a lot of this is to do with stumbling upon a character I previously had no major plans for and “riffing” with them, similar to what happened in my screenplay a few weeks ago. In an attempt to keep the momentum flowing, I wrote a lot of the stuff “as it came” without shaping it into a coherent narrative flow. Therefore much will be tweaked/edited/lost down the line, maybe even as early as today.
Regardless of how much does find its way into the eventual first draft, it was a very pleasing discovery to make before my break, and gives me an exciting energy to come back to this week. Since this chapter will still be the focus of my work this week, I will come back to the importance of this character breakthrough, and how it can be applied more generally, in next week’s blog when my writing brain is firing on a few more cylinders than it is currently!
Target Number 2 – Write 15 scenes in my screenplay.
STATUS: Achieved 😊
I must admit, I cannot remember exactly where I started this target from in my screenplay, so cannot give an exact number as to how many scenes I added during this time. I do, however, know for sure that I passed it, which is the important thing at the end of the day! In passing it, I am now tantalisingly close to finishing a first draft and the (narrative) end is in sight. There are a couple of tricky scenes ahead, as there always is when trying to give a screenplay a satisfying ending, but with some effort this week I think I could potentially reach that point of typing “THE END” on the first draft which, combined with the meeting I had with my producer last week and the opportunities he is working on, fills me with a great deal of excitement!
The most important thing to come from this period was not necessarily the words added(shocking admission, I know!). What was important was to take that time, away from my desk, to give them and me some breathing space and remind myself of the bigger picture. Sometimes you can get so involved in your stories – be they novels or scripts – that you forget about the world happening beyond your keyboard. “No person is an island”, as they say, yet as writers I think it is very easy to allow ourselves to drift away from the mainland and become one (geological inaccuracies in the analogy aside…). I had some great business meetings this week with other industry people, with some very exciting potential developments that I can now work towards with renewed self-confidence that I am still on the right path. But I also had some fantastic relaxation time with friends I don’t get to see as often as I once used to when I lived in London as well, which I think is just as important for producing high quality work. It’s tempting to think the way forward with any project is to stick at it until its done, but actually I think the best work is done when you take those breaks to catch your breath, refresh your mind and recover that creative energy. It keeps you going in a much more positive frame of mind and, ultimately, leaves you with a much better end product as well.
I can’t wait to get back to my projects now, and with the added incentive of completing my screenplay on the horizon, I’m excited to get back in the saddle* and kick on!
*I don’t sit in an actual saddle to write. Just a standard, mesh-backed office chair…
This week’s targets:
- Add 5,000 words to my novel manuscript.
- Complete the first draft of my screenplay.