I am what I say I am

I’ve been tearing it up vis-à-vis word count lately, turning out about 500 words per day for my novel. Which may not sound like much, but given how little time I have to write, it’s amazing. I can generally devote 90 minutes max to fiction a day, five or six days a week. So I’m pleased with my output lately.

I’m even more pleased because until three weeks ago, I was lucky to get 500 words in a week. I’d gotten bogged down over a plot detail that I thought I needed but just couldn’t make work. I was considering giving up on this manuscript. I was considering giving up on writing fiction entirely. “If I’m not writing,” I told a friend, “Then I’m not a writer, res ipsa loquitur.” Because I have the kind of friends to whom I can say “res ipsa loquitur” (not to mention “vis-à-vis”) and not have them slap me silly. I have great friends.

My friends told me what a loss to the world it would be if I stopped writing, because they are great friends who are willing to lie to me right to my face.

When I took the last week in October off, I set a goal of writing twice each day, with a target of 500-750 words for each session. I decided that background and planning would count, since I wasn’t going to add much to the manuscript until I worked out some plot problems. And I did it. I wrote, and as I wrote about the problem, I found a way to get past it. I created a matrix of characters and their possible means, motives, and opportunities to have committed the crime. I turned that matrix into a chain of plot points. Then I created plot points for my two subplots and wove them all together. And while I was doing all that (and ever since), I added to the manuscript a little each day. Ever since, I’ve been on a tear. This morning I wrote 520, which put my total over 45,000–halfway to the target length I established for the first draft.

I guess I can keep calling myself a writer.