The October Plan

I originally wrote this piece on Saturday, planning to post it on October 1. Then we took a trip to the emergency room for some non-life-threatening but painful troubles my wife was having. That’s eaten up most of the past 48 hours. So I’m just going to post this today and pretend that October starts now and runs through November 2. That’s fair, right?


For more than a decade now, I’ve done the majority of my writing during my lunch break at work. My coworkers have been generally understanding and supportive, which has been great. And looking back at the books and stories I’ve been able to put out, I’d say it’s worked.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been working quite as well with Codex Born. I’m not entirely sure why, though I have a number of theories…

  • In general, each new book is more ambitious than the last, meaning in some ways, they get progressively harder to write, or require more time and energy to pull together.
  • Part of my therapy process with depression has been trying to learn to take time for myself, to just relax or have fun. Which is a good and healthy thing, but I wonder if deliberately concentrating on those issues has whittled away from some of the time I used to use to concentrate on the fiction.
  • Libriomancer is doing amazingly well, which is awesome, but it also means I’m feeling a lot more pressure to make book two as good or better. It’s a great problem to have, but it still means I’m putting additional pressure on myself, which might paradoxically be slowing me down.

I’m thinking about trying something I haven’t done in a long time. Back when I started writing books, we didn’t have National Novel Writing Month. We did have novel dares, though. Back in our day, we didn’t settle for just 50,000 words in a month. We wrote the entire novel. And we wrote uphill! Both ways!

I’ve started on the third draft of Codex Born. I’ve discarded several half-finished drafts, but I’m feeling more confident about this one, and I think I’ve worked through most of the problems that killed the earlier versions. So I’m setting myself a goal to finish this draft in October.

I expect to fail at this goal. Realistically, I think the odds of me completing a full, finished draft this month are pretty slim.

I know it’s not impossible. Heck, I wrote, revised, and started submitting Goblin Quest in about six weeks. But I was unemployed and living in my parents’ house at the time. Realistically, it will be a lot more difficult to do 80-90K words in the next 31 days. But I’m going to try.

And while I expect to fail, I also expect that the goal will help me mentally, and that it will be a more productive month. I’m also going to go back to posting word counts, which I haven’t done in ages, as another mind trick to keep me motivated and on track.

Wish me luck!