I’ve written before about being anti-stogy, about trying new things all the time.
I don’t want to say that I’ve been stuck in my writing. I’ve been trying new things, learning about and then experimenting with new genres, and so on. I try to stay both fresh as well as relevant.
Looking back, though, those have all felt like minor changes, new facets of an old gem. I wasn’t doing the same-old, same-old, but I also don’t feel as though I was striking out into completely new territory.
You’re going to hear me talk about the dragon book a lot. No, it doesn’t have a proper title yet. And I still don’t know if it’s just a one-off book or a duology or a trilogy. I can’t imagine it being bigger than that, but we’ll see.
The dragon book is different for me. It feels very different than anything I’ve ever written. Partly that’s the voice. I’m deliberately trying to be funny and light. I’m breaking the fourth wall in parts of the text, again, something I’ve rarely done. (I can only think of one short story where I did that. It, too, was an experiment, that I believe mostly worked. Secrets of 9s, which I’m giving away until the end of the year. Just click the link.)
Different is good. It’s also scary. I think it’s working. I don’t know for certain, and I won’t know until after I finish it and someone else reads it.
I’m okay with that level of uncertainty. While of course, I would like every book to work and to be a best-seller, I know that isn’t the case.
I’m willing to experiment with a novel, even if I’m not sure it will work, in part because I write so much. If I was only writing one book per year, that would be a different thing. I wouldn’t be so eager to try something new. Because there would be so little output, I’d want to make sure that everything worked.
If I finish this novel this year, in 2022, it will be the sixth novel I’ve written in 2022. There’s a part of me that feels that’s a pitifully small number, and believe me, I’m working on that. I’m trying to look at that number and think, YAY! I wrote six novels this year! (I am still a work in progress, quite frankly.)
Does that uncertainty get to me some mornings? It hasn’t so far, and I’m a little over 10K into this book. I have no idea how long this book is, and I’m not letting myself care at this point.
One of the other very different things about this book has been my lack of focus on word count. Normally, I’m all about the word count. Lately, though, that’s been feeling restrictive.
Because this book is so different, and the voice is so different, I haven’t been focused on word count. Instead, it’s much more important that I get all those other things right. I’m managing between 1000-1500 words a day, though at least one day I did better than that. (And maybe part of that is still recovering from being sick.)
I’m considering changing my focus next year to a project count instead, like six novels and X number of short stories. I’ve written 14 short stories in 2022, as well as a Business for Breakfast nonfiction book. Plus, I’ll have written 52 essays, one a week, and 52 “peeks”—weekly blogs for my Patreon people. That might be what I aim for next year as well.
At the end of the day, though, I guess what’s most important is that I feel really good about my writing. Will this book work? I don’t know. If it doesn’t work, can I fix it? Again, to be determined.
In the meanwhile, I’m stretching and growing as an artist, experimenting and pushing the envelope. And that’s what really matters.
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