So this is all really Stephen King’s fault, if you are looking for someone to blame (this perhaps directed especially to my Eager Volunteers). Those of who who have known me for a while will know I have written fiction on and off but nothing much of late, for a whole fleet of reasons we may get into another time. However, I guess about two years ago I finally decided to read the Dark Tower series and even before I got to the part where the man in black fled across the desert and Ka is like a wheel I got to this foreward King wrote, entitled ‘On Being Nineteen (and a few other things)’.
Now I kind of figure Mr. King had a somewhat younger target in mind for this thing than me, but this essay (or whatever) really grabbed me by the throat. Broadly it’s about following your heart and your passion (both of which are foremost in your mind at age nineteen) but he talks about writing specifically (no surprises) and the process of finishing The Dark Tower. There’s a lot of stuff in there but his advice for young artists is pretty fantastic.
‘Let it rip regardless of what anybody tells you, that’s my idea, sit down and smoke that baby.’ This is something I wish I read when I was 19, or really ‘a while ago’ in general. (Now I’ll accept that I may have been sent this message, or one much like it, one one or several occasions, and failed to hear it for whatever reason. However, you’ll forgive me if I write this in a way that puts me in a slightly less dumbass light, won’t you?) Even so, even if I was coming to it a little late, this had my attention.
I mean, there’s about a million reasons not to spend time writing fiction, including Writing Crises that will probably appear in later entries, but King’s advice to just smoke that shit is great. Sure, there may not be any money in it, and you probably aren’t writing The Dark Tower or The Brothers Karamazov or whatever, but if you feel you’ve got that art in you then sit down and bang it out, regardless. Ok. All right. Who am I to argue with Stephen King.
All of which to say: I have taken on a project, and the project is this: Spend this summer writing a novel, and specifically to write a minimum of 1,000 words a day (roughly 4 pages) a day doing it. I have told many people that 1,000 words is a mere nothing, so this should be easy, right? Right. I imagine some days I will grimly grind out precisely 1,000 words and then throw my computer into the street, and other days I will dash off higher amounts. Either way, although hopefully there will be of the less computer-throwing days, by the end of the summer I should have 90,000 words, or thereabouts, which will be the bulk of a novel-length hunk o’ writing.
The purpose of the blog here (one of them anyway) is for me to be publicly accountable and liable for Heaping of Scorn if I fall short. So every time I update (at least once a week) there will be a word count. If I fall behind I overflow with confidence that I will get the static I would then so richly deserve. This is to help me with overcoming the Problem, which we will discuss before long. I have also enlisted some kind and eager volunteers to donate their time to editting and kicking the crap out of the work as I go along.
The endgame of the Project, though, is that once the it is finished, it will get e-published for anyone who wants to read it to be able to do so. Now I read somewhere that e-publishing is separated from vanity publishing only a thin green line (e.g. you aren’t paying to publish) and I’m not sure I would argue that; I certainly will not claim to be Published should (when! say ‘when’!) this is finished and e-published someplace. That’s not what the Project is about. This is a challenge to myself to write something to completion, and then I want to stick it somewhere where people who are interested can take a look at it and tell me what they think, and hopefully they will have enjoyed it or part of it or what have you.
Anyway I appreciate your indulgence in using you as a crutch to help keep myself on task. I’m not entirely sure what I will write for updates but I’ll try to keep them readable. With your assistance, this summer I will smoke this baby.
Word Count: 2,587. This means I can take the next 2.5 days off!