The Writing Journal #42

“Writing a feature film is a marathon, not a sprint.”

These are just some of the many useful words of advice my wonderful script development tutor gave me while I was at film school, and it is a message I have carried with me throughout the years since. They are a soothing, calming mantra during the dark night of the soul (both of the protagonist’s hero’s journey and the writing of said journey), but sometimes that night can become so murky that even these words can be lost and you begin to think that no amount of effort will hasten the promised dawn.  It’s in these times that you need a little reminder that the dawn always comes eventually (unless it’s the apocalypse, but we won’t get into that now…), and that the hours of work that seemingly go nowhere do have a long-term positive impact on the project eventually, be it a film script you’re working on or, apparently, a novel too…

Target Number 1: Spend a minimum of 20 hours editing my novel.

A slow start to the novel this month, with only 1hr 35mins clocked up in a busy first week of August. I must admit I’ve been my own worst enemy on a couple of occasions by forgetting to set my timer running on some impromptu sessions that occurred when an idea popped into my head, but nothing to make significant changes to this overall figure.

This was always going to be the case with so much happening on the podcast side of things, but what was reassuring was the amount of narrative progress made within this short space of time. Last month, despite being able to (just about) make the targeted twenty hours of editing time, I didn’t feel like I’d made as much progress as I hoped I would in terms of what the reader would eventually see; what I refer to as the “novel on the page”. The “novel in concept” – the world/characters/journies/etc. – were all developing and gestating, but it wasn’t converting into tangible progress within the novel on the page which was, at times, frustrating. This week, however, that conversion process began to rapidly take place, acting as a timely reminder that even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like progress is being made directly on a project, all the time you spend thinking about it eventually shapes and guides the writing that will come out in the end. Figuring out what doesn’t work is just as important as figuring out what does, and can often give you a stronger foundation to launch off from as a result.

Target Number 2: Launch and grow the social media presence for Poor Uncle Dave.

Poor Uncle Dave can now be found on Facebook and Twitter, technically fulfilling the first half of this month’s target in its first week. Of course, that is only the tip of this very large iceberg, and there is a heck of a long way to go with the other half yet, so please do consider giving them a like or a follow and spreading the message far and wide. It’s had a steady start so far, but I am certainly looking for ways to improve the reach even further, so if any of you dear readers are social media gurus, please do get in touch as I would love all the help I can get in this regard!

As for the bookcast itself, it is still continuing to gain traction and a stronger foothold, particularly with its listings in directories gradually starting to move up as well. With the social media now in place and new episodes still to come, I’m hoping these numbers will continue to grow from here and enhance the already heart-warming response the stories have received so far.

An encouraging week overall then, with signs of growth and reasons to be very cheerful on both the novel and bookcast. There’s no rest for the wicked just yet though, and plenty more miles to be run with three more episodes of the podcast to release this month and eighteen hours of novel edits to clock up. Someone hand me a banana…

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