One Week On

It’s been just over a week since I completed my MA. How am I doing?

Well, after spending so much time revising and polishing my dissertation, I have had to proceed into unchartered territory: I have had to start making stuff up again. I have a rough plan for my novel so I know where I should be heading. Even so, making stuff up is hard. It’s also difficult getting used to the idea that this new stuff won’t benefit from any imminent feedback. No workshops. No tutorials to help me out. What once seemed like a horror – having others scrutinize my work in progress – now seems like a luxury as I face the remaining fifty thousand words on my own.

I have set myself a target of five thousand words a week.  It’s a tough enough target to keep me working and focused, but not completely unrealistic. The first week I made it… just.

I wanted to find a new title for the novel as the working title I had wasn’t working for me.  I’m really rubbish at titles. So I decided to trawl through all my #sentencesaday on Twitter to see if a little gem lay amongst them. It didn’t. Not only that, but I made the shocking discovery that about eighty percent of my choice sentences had actually been hacked from the final draft of my dissertation.

So this week I’ve learnt three things:

  1. Making the adjustment to working alone is hard.
  2. Having a target helps.
  3. Most of what I write is crap.

Oh, and one more thing. I learnt that when going to an exercise class for the first time in months, if I’m not careful I will end up with muscles so tender and swollen I can’t physically get a mug of tea to my mouth or a cork out of a bottle of wine. Although I can still type.  Lucky me.

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8 Responses to One Week On

  1. Hey Claudia, sounds like an excellent start. Btw do ignore my well meaning advice re the PopEye arms. I missed a tweet and thought you’d strained your arms due to all that computer use – did not realise an exercise class set it off! Anyway keep up the good work and have fun…

  2. Marina Sofia says:

    Sounds painful – both the exercise class (and its consequences: am in the same boat myself after a summer of laziness) and the floating about without a rudder. Happy readjustment and please continue to share your work with us!

  3. claudia says:

    Thanks guys. Only managed 500 words yesterday so it’s head down today.

  4. Abbey B says:

    It amazes me how well disciplined you and most writers are. I often sit down, think out a page or two, then go back and correct it until it’s too much to handle. Then the story lays unfinished for weeks until I can figure out how to move on. Do you ever have that urge, and if so, what do you do to fight it?

  5. claudia says:

    That’s precisely why I’ve given myself a word count target Abbey. Otherwise I’m liable to spend far too long on a small section, which may well need changing anyway when I’ve written the rest. I don’t produce work of high quality this way, but I do produce. The thing for me is to get the story down and refine the writing after. I know not everybody works that way, but that’s how I fight it.

  6. Abbey B says:

    Thanks so much Claudia! I’ve been working on an outline for national writing month, and now it’s just a matter of days before I have to tackle it. I’m also reading books that are well written in hopes that I can write without too much editing. I will definitely try the word counting, and see where it takes me. 🙂

  7. Shona Patel says:

    Congratulations for getting started. That is the hardest part. Nanowrimo gave me the kickstart for my first novel. It took me another two years to polish and complete. Writing a novel is by the most painfult thing I have ever done but also the most rewarding. Sending you good thoughts… Shona

  8. claudia says:

    It’s funny to talk about writing a novel as ‘painful,’ but it really is so much harder than it sounds! Nanowrimo must be an absolute killer as I’m finding 5k a week tough enough, but sticking to it… just.

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