Settling In and Getting the Work Done.
Some introspection on the plod method, not only in writing, but in life.
The photo bank is low this week, clearly I’ve been busy. With what? You might ask. With the plod, is my answer. Allow me to explain.
The Plod Method
First off, some work. Having booked off earlier in the month with what must have been covid; crippling headaches, lethargy, tread marks up my back from the truck that clearly ran me over (joking), I have rebounded and returned to active flying.
What had become a maniacal hunt for spare minutes while we were in Prague became a much more manageable routine with gaps between parenting/husbanding/housework that I could choose to fill with any number of items on the to-do list. I played hockey last week, helped Katie with organization, we even interviewed potential nannies. Yet another strategy to free up more minutes for both of us. A Tool concert found its way in there somewhere, a band I’ve wanted to see live for almost thirty years. They did not disappoint.
Plodding, that is the act of completing the task before you, without focussing on what’s next. Currently I’m completing my second draft, which is a daunting task. Editing 140,000 words down to a submittable 90,000 takes a lot of work, and time. But one chapter is entirely manageable. Sometimes that one chapter takes multiple days, but that’s okay. When it’s done, I simply move on to the next one, plodding along.
So Where Is All the Writing?
In progress that’s where.
In November of 2020, during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I penned the first 40,000 words of False Ignition. I tackled some recent themes; genetically engineered pathogens, super-intelligent artificial intelligence, and some aspects of 3D-printing that hasn’t hit the mainstream yet, all while telling the story of a young skip tracer named Orlando. Since then, I have released my debut novel, returned to work, fathered a son, moved to Prague and back again, and joined the training department. Busy is a grossly inaccurate adjective. Slammed tells a more accurate tale.
“I’ll just fix that in edits.”
At the end of the day, yes. But the realization of the vast number of plot holes and unacceptable tropes I found while editing my first draft, specifically as I got closer to the end of the novel became unwieldy. It was around the 65% mark of my second draft when I began to grok (understand (something) intuitively or by empathy) the magnitude of the problem. In an effort to organically write my way into an interesting and plausible conclusion I had lost sight of the story’s offset, parallel timelines and how I intended to weave them into one without confusing the reader.
So I’m fixing that, and it requires some rewrites earlier in the novel. Balancing all the plots and weaving them together at the right place with offset timelines that merge into one is more difficult with the distractions of a new family, a full-time job, and moves across oceans. Now that we are home, I feel the cohesion returning. The juggling balls remain in the air, Orlando’s story is coming together.
“In the midst of chaos and conspiracy, a deadly game is afoot, where the world’s fate hangs in the balance.”
How I Wrote A Book With A Full–Time Job and a Brand New Baby
Well, it ain’t finished yet. But when it is, I will have proven it can be done.
This week’s strategy:
After the baby is in bed, there are two or three hours of quiet time. The kitchen and bathroom are cleaned and tidy, the dishwasher is running, the toys are put away. These minutes (even hours!) are yours for the taking. Ensure your partner is good, your mind is clear, then sit and create. Right now I’m taking that time to get this newsletter out. Tomorrow I will use it to edit the next chapter of False Ignition. The uninterrupted and silent nature of this time of day is similar to that of 5am, though I find evenings more difficult as the fatigue sets in and clouds my creativity. Might give the early days a go next month.
All for now, happy writing!