The state of the lost dabs project

An update

So it turns out that it’s not as easy as I thought it would be to write a book and update a blog at the same time! One of them always gives way to the other.

When I started writing this blog, I wasn’t doing any writing, I was making notes and thinking about things that affected the book. I wanted to discuss my thoughts with other writers to draw on their experience, and I used the blog to channel this. All my writing was in blog posts and it really helped structure this project.

Now I have moved on to writing my book, I’ve found I don’t have the time to write on here, and it shows. I’m not posting anything, no ones interested in the project – and why would they be? For all anyone knows, I’ve given up and decided to do something else instead.

The word count

So here’s an update. I’m still going! In fact, I’ve been pretty productive this past week. I don’t really want a word count on the blog as word counts are no measure of quality (I might as well write the word ‘porridge’ 70000 times, but that wouldn’t make it a book). However, I feel that as part of an update on productivity, the word count is a good metric to use – you’ll just have to trust me on my own measure of quality!

In my post https://haroldhuscin.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/fixed-deadline-go-flexible-on-the-plot/  bejamin4 added a comment to say that he structures his writing by chunking it up into 10000 (10k) word blocks. The idea that it is easier to get to the end of one block rather than to fixate on the total 70k word book. It’s worth reading his comments in our conversation on this post as they really made sense to me.

So now I’m shamelessly copying bejamin4’s style on writing – and I think it really works. My original structure of a beginning, and end and five middle sections also goes with this – I’m now aiming for them to all be 10k words each, rather than the complicated split of sections I described elsewhere on this blog. I’ve already defined what the sections are going to be about, I just need to work out the detail whenever I start a new section.

I’ve also established a new timetable for writing: write a thousand words every day for ten days. Edit for three days. Repeat. Seven times in total means a book of 70k words in 91 days. I’m planning to edit the full manuscript during December, ready for the launch before Christmas. Sounds easy!

So where am I now? I’ve written 7000 words so far. This was a great achievement last night as it constitutes 10% of the whole. Reaching this landmark has made me realise the end is achievable. The Lost Dabs project is good!!

Going forward

So my question to the world is… what do I write about on the blog? Some of you write loads about your books and I always like to read what other people are doing and where their writing is going. How do you find the time? Do you find it worthwhile to take a break to blog about something different rather than always concentrating on writing the book?

All the comments I’ve had on my blog so far have been really helpful and inspired me to carry on and have steered the way I’ve thought about this project. In my mind, I need to keep reading as I write and take as much collaborative input I can into this process, posting my thoughts as I go along. If there’s anything I’m missing, or any thoughts that are useful to publish, then I’d love to hear what you think. As always, I am completely open to sharing and discussing all thoughts on the writing process, so please leave me a comment below if you’d like to join in.

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2 thoughts on “The state of the lost dabs project

  1. I find time to blog, write and do other writing-related things because I have a part-time job and no social life, basically. I do watch tv/movies and the like, but only ‘after-hours’….after my day job when I don’t have the mental energy to do a creative task.

    Writing is done in the morning/early afternoon every day except the two workdays when I go in too early to get any writing in, and can last from 45 minutes to 6-8 hours depending on when I start and what else I have to do that day. And how long my motivation lasts.

    Blogging is done in the evening, usually on my weekend. Takes me an hour or two to assemble a blog post, which doesn’t count the time it took to make any of the resources I’m referring to — maps etc. Sometimes I just have a spontaneous need to post, so will put something together at any time, but I do try to stick to a minimum of one post a week, whenever I have the energy to make one.

    Miscellaneous work like the maps, language, bestiary, happens when it happens — usually as notes while I’m at work or as warm-up pre-writing stuff in the mornings.

    Basically, the books are my life, and I fit them in wherever I can, to the exclusion of a lot else. For people with heavier work schedules or actual social lives, this won’t be helpful.

    • Hi there, thanks for the detailed and frank reply! My full time job takes up a lot of my time – 9 hour day plus an hour travel either side. There’s a lunch break in the middle which I sometimes get a chance to do a bit of writing, plotting or planning. Plus the car journey sometimes lets me ponder a problem around plot or a character. I had to take the train into Town for a work meeting last week which gave me over an hour’s brainstorming time. Worked really well as it was a different setting for my writing – I engineered most of the plot I hadn’t yet decided on.
      I really enjoy the blog, I like putting together a post and publishing it to the world. It’s a micro-book, indie published on a daily basis. It gives a good sense of achievement and is easy to motivate myself to do. Now I am writing the book full time (in my spare time) I don’t have this constant gratification of publishing – I just hope I can keep up the motivation until it’s finished.
      Thanks as ever for your fascinating insights in to your writing world.

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