14th March, 2011: We have normality

“I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.”

So wrote Douglas Adams in The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It occurs to me that despite the first book being one of my favourite ever, ever, I’ve never actually got past book three in the series. Hmm. I think I should rectify that.


Routine. I love routine. I am a routine person. Me and routine get on like a house on fire. Disturbances to the routine annoy me. Returning to routine is like coming home.

Today I returned to routine: 2,000 words a day. As I said at the beginning of the year, if I can manage 2,000 words a day then everything else will flow. And I mean everything. Two thousand words a day is nearly three-quarters of a million words a year. With that kind of rate of production, you can really carve something good out.

As I type this I’ve only just done 1,044 words on Hang Wire, but that only leaves 956 to go later today. I split my writing into two sessions, as I find around 1,000 words is as much as I can comfortably write before I need to do something else.

Getting back to Hang Wire is interesting as with so long spent editing and working on other things which had rather more pressing timelines, I didn’t really remember the story that well. Or rather, I remember the story just fine (and I have an outline anyway), but I didn’t really remember what I had typed. After reading the last couple of scenes back, it was pretty clear this particular sequence wasn’t working and possibly isn’t needed at all, so I added a “to be continued” footnote and then went on with the next chapter. When it comes time to edit – and not before – I’ll encounter this sequence again and can then decide what to do with it.

I never edit while writing. Move forward, not back. And who knows, I could have spent a day fixing this sequence only to discover this time next month that the ending of the book requires something be seeded earlier in that very sequence. All that editing time will have been wasted for precisely zero progress.

Move forward, not back.

Yesterday I finished the edit of The Suicide Tree sample chapters. Overall they came to around 11,000 words, which was about 1,000 words more than when I started editing. Of course these chapters don’t quite fit the “don’t edit while you’re writing” rule, because I’m not writing any more of the book now unless it gets commissioned, and I need those sample chapters to shine. Of course, if I did write the whole book, those sample chapters may well need some tweaking at the end anyway. But that’s part of the risk.

Those chapters are out with my beta readers, and fingers-crossed I’ll be able to submit them by the end of the week.