Monday, July 28, 2008

Start as You Mean to Go On

So, I admit that I’ve been very lax in my writing of late, but I made excellent progress today on that “epic fantasy novel” I keep talking about, but that I never actually write. Here’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been outlining. Now I’ve got 25 pages of simple plot events spanning the various short stories that make up the epic. A number of my writer friends warn me of the dangers of this – that you may tire of your story before it is written, but for me it really does work. I’ve completed more projects with this method than by simply writing start to finish without a plan. It just takes a lot longer. It can take me a year to perfect an outline for a 2-hour movie script, but then I’ll write the whole thing comfortably in 7 days, because I can’t get writer’s block. They whole story is not only already written in my head, but mapped out in a chart in front of me. It’s a shame to write for fifty pages and realize you don’t know where the story is going. And the last thing I wanna do is pull a deus ex machina Stephen King ending! Sorry, buddy. You’re an awesome writer, but you write yourself into corners, and then your endings leave much to be desired.

And then I thought of an old expression. “Start as you mean to go on.” Essentially, this means you set the tone now for what you want to be doing in your future. So I’m giving myself a new goal. I’m no longer going to require myself to write a certain number of pages, but rather, make a certain amount of progress in my main project. On every weekday, I either write one scene, or walkthrough one complete story outline. Either way, I’m looking at 2-4 pages of writing. That is stupidly easy, and a decent pace to expect of myself if I want to make a career out of this.

Ten years ago, I finished high school, at which point I was worth minimum wage. Now, a degree and a certificate later, I’m worth minimum wage. If I set no pace, ten years from now, I’ll be 38, and I’ll be worth minimum wage. If minimum wage were enough to raise a family on, I’d be fine with it, but it’s not. My mother just called be and told me my the old warehouse is looking for seasonal staff again. And I don’t know what to do, because I need to make money somehow, but there, I really make so little, and frankly, I also hate it there.


The guidance Counselor said...

There's minimum wage you hate, and minimum wage that you can do, and then there's minimum wage that teaches you a thing or two. If you've done it and hate it, do something new.
This reminds me of a special saying that I like to share when I'm doling out advice: Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, become guidance counselors.

Inkpot said...

It is always a good idea to start as you mean to go on. As regards writing it is important to find out what works for you. If you find that writing detailed outlines works, then do it! Happy writing. :)

spookygreentea said...

You could always sell a kidney.