I sincerely hope you had a better weekend than I did. It’s not been a bad weekend per se, nothing terrible happened. But I was utterly uninspired by literally everything and whinier than a five year old in the backseat of a car on a cross country road trip.
Let me state an unpopular opinion: the fact that you have written something or are attempting to write something and have a platform on which to talk about that (be it a blog, a forum or any kind of social media) does NOT mean that ANYBODY in the whole bloody world has to care.
You don’t deserve comments, feedback, reviews, cheers or really, any kind of response to it just because it is there.
You don’t deserve a single thing but one.
Your own respect. Your pride in yourself for setting up shop or already having gone the distance. You are the only one whose support you can and should demand at all times. And you know what? Most people let themselves down and want others to do the work. That, my friends, is not on.
Starting something new is exhilarating and my default reaction is to put all systems on go and pour all my time and resources into it. At the moment, I am lucky enough to (mostly) do exactly that. For a few more weeks, I have complete freedom as to how I spent my time and a large chunk of it goes into this project.
But lets be realistic. That is not how it usually goes. First of all, the innital honeymoon phase ends eventually, no matter how great a project. Besides, no one has only one thing to keep track of.
Which is where it usually gets messy for me. Having more balls to juggle inevitably leads to me dropping first one, and then another, and in the end they are all in a big heap on the ground and I am waving my goals goodbye.
That’s were the principle of “No zero days” comes in.
If you write fantasy or science fiction, more often than not at least one of the conflicts involved is military in nature. Wars heighten the stakes, make it easy to set up parties against each other on a grand scale and bring some action to the page.
While writing war seems daunting in a realistic setting because “there is just so much to reasearch”, especially fantasy autors often seem to award themselves more of a creative liscence. Which, in my opinion, you shouldn’t, because it takes away a lot from the potential of the setting and the credibility of the conflict. Putting some effort into the set up not only makes your world immediately richer and feeling more real, it also will help to improve your overall story.
When you write, it’s usually only you and your story (at least while you are on the first draft). While that reduces complexity regarding the process, it also allows for more leniency. Chapter not done yet? Oh well, tomorrow is another day, I just wasn’t feeling it today. Too lazy to research? Let’s be vague in our description and no one will notice.
Especially when writing doesn’t come with the responsibility of supporting yourself financially and/or delivering to an agent or publisher on a deadline, developing a structured process is probably one of the things writers struggle with most. I know I do.
Writers are roughly sorted into pantsers and plotters. Pantsers, literally, fly by the seat of their pants and make their stories up as they go. I’ve tried my hand at pantsing, mostly because I thought I was enough of a genius to not need any kind of roadmap and would still end up where I wanted to go. Yeah. You guessed it. Didn’t go so well. That is not to say that pansting can’t work. It apparently does for a lot of people. But I am not one of them.
After I realised that, I started plotting and outlining. A lot. Which made me realise another thing: planning my novel became a tool to keep me from actually writing it. It’s the ideal method to avoid this fear inducing process of doing the real work. Because it doesn’t matter if your outline is bad. It’s just an outline, right? No one cares.
All project kick offs I have been to so far (a grand total of two) started out with fancy speeches and booze. I emptied my last beer yesterday and I suck at fancy speeches, so we’ll skip that and just dive right into it.
Since I declared this to be a project, I am going to be the good business major that I am and treat it as such.
A project is defined as a planned set of related tasks that are to be executed within a specific time frame, taking into account a set budget and/or other limitations.