This is the first time I’ve banged out 80,000 words on my own. I don’t think I’m really a novel-writing kinda guy. To Karin, 80,000 words was just warming-up. To me, it’s longer than the history of the world. Even my short stories get impatient with me after 3000 words, and my poems stubbornly refuse to turn over a page. Hard narrative yardage has always proven beyond me hitherto.
What makes this even more remarkable to me, is that I appear to have written this novel almost entirely by accident. My intention was to tidy up a load of loose ends before the end of the year. 2017 needs to see me head in a new direction, one that pays me some money and, whatever joys writing may bring me, money ain’t one of them.
I was clearing the decks. I was merely putting some unpublished, some long-forgotten, some vanity-type stuff into book form, and shoving it into the vast digital hinterland of the world’s consciousness, before wiping the dirt from my hands and walking away from the grave of my literary ambition. Sometimes you need to know when to quit.
At the same time, I’d read some advice about writer’s block, or about writing generally. The advice was simple. Just write for 15 minutes every day. At least 15 minutes, every day. Write, not stare at a piece of paper, for at least 15 minutes every day. Longhand, preferably.
Which is what I did. And in 75 days I had turned a long-festering 10,000 words of poo into the first draft of a novel, one with 84 different voices. Of course, it’s now probably 80,000 words of poo, though I hope not. Who knows? And who will ever know?
Even so, it’s an accomplishment of sorts.