Over the last two days I have written nothing. And when I mean nothing, I mean nothing: no chapters of India-1, no blog entries and not even very many tweets. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that this is a Very Bad Thing.
It’s also something of which I’m guilty many times during the year. I take perfectly useful days, days that could be spent getting a major jump on my writing duties, and fritter them away in front of the computer. And it’s not even like I’m doing anything; in lieu of writing, I’m simply web surfing the same sites over and over again. It is an awful, terrible, no good, very bad habit.
I wish there was some miracle cure for this kind of procrastination, but I have written before in this space about what it takes to get out of such a rut and into a productive space: sitting down and writing. No gimmicks, no secrets. Just hard work that you start doing at the beginning of your allotted writing time and continue doing until the clock runs out.
This is not easy. I’ll be the first to admit to that. It’s not fun, either. I’ve already established that the physical and mental feat of actually turning out words is not a very good time for me, so I basically have zero impetus to get my work done beyond the vague knowledge that if I don’t write I won’t have material to sell. No material to sell, no money this year. No money this year equals sad face. And unpaid bills.
As it happens, I’m kind of lucky today. Though I have a couple of errands to run this morning — the new cat must go to Animal Control to receive her spaying, and I have to find something to eat for lunch — my day afterward is completely open all the way through ’til five o’clock. If I start at my usual time (11am), I have six solid hours of writing time to play with. Based on my average writing speed, that represents approximately 8,000-10,000 words of new material.
I had already planned to write over the weekend, which is something I never do. I’m not going to get caught in the same situation I was in when I wrote Grand Champ: screwing off for days and even weeks at a time, always planning to sit down and do my words but somehow never getting around to it until the guilty feelings grew unbearable. That manuscript took me four months to write, an unacceptably long time, and I’m not having it. I don’t expect a four-week miracle like Most Wanted every time, but I do want that to be the ideal I shoot for when I’m working up a new book.
If nothing else, I intend 2013 to be my most productive year yet. Over the last few years I’ve never been able to crack three manuscripts in a twelve-month period. That’s the absolute floor I’ve set for myself this time around, but my ultimate desire is to beat that by one or two. I want my agent to be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to send out. In the words of a writer friend of mine, I want to “flood the zone.” With so many hooks in the water, one has to snare a fish.