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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-04-04 05:13
Subject: [process] Watch that first step, it's a doozy
Security: Public
Tags:books, currents, process, sunspin, writing
Diving into a substantial project for the first time, or back into it if I've been off for a while, always includes a moment of challenge for me. There's a point where I say to myself, "Whoa, I can't do that." For Pete's sake, I've written nineteen first draft novels. It's not like I don't know how to do the work at this point. There's just a sense of biting off part of an elephant. It's biiiig.

This happened to me yesterday as I geared up to once more start laying down significant first draft word count on Their Currents Turn Awry, Sunspin volume two. I'd spent the previous couple of days reading through the 66,600 words of draft I already had in the can. That effort got me back into the headspace of the books, the terrain of the characters. Yesterday, though, I needed to step off the edge and take the plunge into the next 70,000 words or so.

For one long, slow moment, teetering at the edge, I felt like chickening out.

I didn't. I never do. But the temptation is always there, right at that launch point.

In fact, I went on to write 4,500 words of first draft yesterday. Two character segments. With gunfire, and crashed spaceships sinking into the waters of a frigid mountain lake, and murder at a production studio. It's not like it wasn't fun, or interesting, or engaging, or entertaining. Writing (almost) always is those things for me.

I just get a little spooked by the size of my ambitions sometimes. Then I remember that I am bigger than the story, that I must be bigger than the story. It is contained within me, and only I can let it out.

The multitudes are marching. I will be for a while plural.

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User: mlerules
Date: 2012-04-04 18:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keep on marching... :-) ox
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User: mrtact
Date: 2012-04-04 18:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I suspect this is a problem for most people at the same stage of your career. When you're just starting out, it's relatively easy -- there's a pretty concrete ladder to climb... "get positive feedback from crit group," "get personalized rejection letter," "get acceptance letter," "get agent" and so on. The path (at least from my limited viewpoint) seems somewhat murkier once you've sold a couple of books.

Nevertheless, keep at it. If you're not continually challenging yourself, you're not growing your craft. And if you're not growing your craft... you're Piers Anthony.

(OK, that was a cheap shot :-)
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