Words, Words, Words

February 14, 2000

My wrist continues to improve slowly. I think I'll be wearing splints for at least a couple of months, by which time I'll hopefully have gotten most of the function back.

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If you read the other Not-A-Webring Journals, you'll be familiar with the concept of a novel dare. Basically, a group of writers challenge themselves to each write the rough draft of a novel in a month, and report on their daily progress. If you can do it it can be a good motivational tool.

I've set myself a more modest goal. Starting today, I'll try to write at least 100 words a day. At that rate it would take me two years to finish a novel, assuming I don't get stuck somewhere along the way.

I deliberately chose a very modest goal because I know I can write that much at lunchtime, even if I only have about ten minutes. And if I make a point of writing during lunch then I won't be able to put it off. (Which is why I'm not going to require writing on the weekends. It seems like it ought to be easier when I have more time, but in practice the unstructured nature of my days off makes it easy to put off even the most trivial obligations.) Eventually I may try to cultivate the habit of typing on the subway, and make up for the lost reading time somewhere else.

Furthermore I want my goal to be small enough that I'm not tempted to rush. I want this book to be funny, and in comedy timing is everything. The easiest way to make sure I'm on the right track is to leave myself time to fiddle as I go, so I have confidence in each scene.

I made a reasonable start: 209 words at lunch, plus another 214 words on the subway. At that rate I'd have three chapters by Lunacon, but I don't think I will write this much every day. What's promising is the pacing, which feels like part of a long story. Since I have a tendency to write cramped, over-short pieces, that's encouraging.

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