36,768. There’s bad news and good news.
That’s the current number of words, after about seven chapters, in the book I’m writing. On spec. That’s two months’ work, about 18,500 words/month. Back in August I made a rough calculation that the book would probably be in the 200,000-word ballpark at the end of the rough draft. I want to finish the rough draft by the end of the year, but at this rate I need nearly nine more months to finish. I have three.
That’s the bad news. I need to be writing three times faster. More, maybe, since the early days yielded a bounty of words.
The good news is that with every completed chapter the world and the characters of Dym 260, my working title for the project, become more real and full of life. This makes writing a lot easier because I have a starting point or stepping stone from which to begin.
And it’s exciting.
I’m the type of person to make snap judgements on the merit of projects. As much as it pains me to say, I’m a hole-poker that looks for every reason not to throw myself into something. If I can’t see the path to success at the start, I won’t “waste” any time on it. This is certainly a handicap – who knows how many good ideas I’ve discarded because I didn’t allow myself to run with them and figure out problems along the way.
And this is precisely why Dym 260 is so exciting to me. The concept checks out. All systems go. Love the idea.
Of course writing a book is new territory. Perhaps these first couple of months have been slowish from a word output standpoint because I’m learning how to do the job. There’s some added difficulty since, in addition to being the author, I’m also the editor, publisher, and cheerleader. Nobody is there to keep me on track, tell me I need to hit certain deadlines, or read my output. In fact, I haven’t shown a single word to anyone yet. I need to be a better boss.
It’s been a great swim through the black. But I gotta say, I’m enjoying it. I can feel the world coming to life. I don’t know if the writing is any good – I’ve never been a good judge of my own creativity – but I can’t let such musings preoccupy me. I simply have to believe it’s entertaining and worthy, that it will all be worth it.
Maybe, in the end, Dym 260 will never flicker through the eager fingers of readers. But if I allow that sentiment to penetrate me, I’ll never finish. I never would have started, just like all those other discarded proto-ideas.
I can’t unthrow myself now. Thank goodness.
Plans & Happenings
I will be taking a break from the book at the end of October to hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for several days of in-depth Bourbon immersion. For too long I’ve looked with ignorant scorn (and some revulsion leftover from my college days) on American whiskey. The aim for this trip is to learn about the history of Bourbon, see how it differs from Scotch whisky, and take a close look at where the two worlds intersect: American oak Bourbon barrels. Most Scotch whisky is aged in these babies. I also hope to gain an appreciation for Bourbon, or, failing that, at least to scorn it knowingly.
At the moment I’m refraining from planning new trips to Scotland so I can focus on drafting my novel.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Bourbon Trail or about writing a book. Slap ’em in the comments!