Today I thought I’d revert to type a little bit and talk about how the 12 books in 12 months project is going. For those of you who haven’t visited before and have been directed here by the Guardian Books page, the title of the blog means exactly what it says – this site is about my endeavour to write a book every month in 2011. If you read back through old entries you’ll find all manner of witty banter about word counts and synonyms and procrastination. And some pictures of chickens.
However, because it’s August and I’m based in Edinburgh, I’ve been trying to give readers a bit of respite from constant posts saying things like “I haven’t written enough” or “I have written a whole load, read it immediately and give me validation,” by posting about the assorted festivals that are going on this month. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had several guest posts about shows with literary themes, and I’ve written about assorted events at the Book Festival too.
There is more of that to come, including an interview with children’s author Andy Stanton tomorrow, but in amongst it all I’m still trying to write a whole bunch of fiction with which to entertain the masses. Sometimes it’s good to remind myself.
During August I’ve been trying my luck at sci-fi. It’s is my eighth book of the year and the word count currently stands at a rather sad 10,000. I’ve also been writing it completely out of order, so the structure may leave something to be desired… The trouble is I have lots of bits of ideas, but sitting down to write them from start to finish is problematic when there’s so much going on.
And now of course it is the 23rd; nine days left to complete magnum opus number eight. This can only mean one thing – it’s time to get my arbitrary arithmetic on.
If I want to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month (never gonna happen) I need to write 4,444 words every day from today until Wednesday next week. This is fairly impractical what with the day job and the EIBF and the Fringe, as well as this blog to maintain (it’s one of three, actually) and articles to write for Ten Tracks and The Broughton Spurtle… It’s impractical, perhaps even improbable; but not impossible.
Come on, let me have that. We all need something to hold on to.
In terms of how the writing is physically going, I’m currently writing in a strange mixture of first person past and present tense. This is sure to provide hours of fun in the second draft stage, as is the fact I keep changing my mind about the name of the heroine… but now is not the time to worry about it. After all, worry is not the friend of word count. If anything, worry paralyses word count and scurries off into the distance, leaving the worrier lost and blinded by page after page of gleaming whiteness. I don’t think anyone is going to be impressed with that. Imagine the ensuing conversation.
“Ali, you writer of 12 books in 12 months you! What did you write in August?”
I would pause for dramatic effect, before proclaiming grandly,
“The Sketchbook?” they will echo, slightly puzzled. “What’s that about, like artists or something?”
“No no,” I shall respond, “naught so grandiose as that. It is literally a sketchbook.”
Then I’ll present a bunch of a4 pages stapled together, probably with ‘my sketchbook’ written on the front in felt tip, and await their adulation.
“You got all worried about the word count and couldn’t think of anything to write, eh no?” they will say, displaying sage like wisdom beyond their years.
And I will bow my head in acquiescence.
So yeah, the plan is to not do that, essentially. I think if I can get to somewhere within the region of 30k I’ll be content. Meanwhile, I’ll be posting things on here about the book festival, and proper authors, and other things that aren’t poorly disguised whingings about the fact this may not have been the most sensible idea I’ve ever had. I hope they are of interest.