A big year is meant to give you 365 days of existential certainty: “come what may, every day I know what to do.” Well, the Writing Big Year has shifted completely and I’m redefining it.
Put simply, my 2017 goal was to wake up early every day and draft the nuclear power book. To get my 20 chapters done, I recast the year as the next fifteen months, that is, I’d finish Chapter 20 in March 2018.
That target changed completely when I finished Chapter 3. I now have Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5, plus an earlier draft of Chapter 4. I don’t think they’re too bad. But if the full book was meant to be 800 pages (I know, I know, it’s long!), well, the first five chapters should take up 200 pages, but the tale I’m telling goes way over 200 pages. Two choices: trim or do something else. If Joe Publisher instructed me to trim, of course I would, but there’s no Joe Publisher, and cutting down would be such a wrench, and in any case, I think the story I’m telling is damned good enough. Conclusion: don’t trim, do something else.
What does “something else” mean? I’ve now taken the decision (thanks Daniel Kabel, thanks Pam Kabel) to publish in three volumes. The titles on this blog’s image are jokey-fake but you get the picture. Each volume covers a quarter century. And I’ll accord myself the thrill of self publishing (in ebook and print-on-demand forms) Volume I as soon as I can. But I won’t let off the pressure to draft the whole saga.
So to avoid doubt, as the lawyers intone, the Writing Big Year is recast:
- Rise early
- Protect the writing cave and write
- Draft Chapters 1 to 13 (two thirds of the book) by December 31
- By December 31, publish Volume I
- By December 31, also publish an old murder mystery (why the hell not?)
(Next year’s main big year will be a continuation, completing all drafting by May, publishing Volumes II and III, and commencing another writing project.)
I now have a week-by-week program. I begin.