Leaving Scottsdale, headed up to the farm…getting home in stages. Marcia and Jerry’s house is great. Arrived yesterday afternoon and had fresh squeezed grapefruit, although I could have had fresh squeezed orange juice. Both can be found on trees in their backyard. This was followed by perfectly grilled steaks cooked outside…another advantage of living in Arizona in the dead of winter.
The backyard also has a beautiful tree house that Jerry built. No doubt inspired by my Sky House in “Cryptid Hunter.” Fiction becomes reality.
I’ll be working on I,Q at the airport and on the airplane. One advantage of writing in a Moleskine is that you can write on the jet as you takeoff (or as you wait to takeoff) and as you land. Can’t do that with a laptop. They make you shut ’em down, which loses about an hour of work while you’re strapped in with nothing to do.
I had a perfect seat for writing on the 3 hour flight. Plenty of room.
How do you keep track of your daily writing quota? There are three ways. Time. Pages. Words.
Time is difficult because it’s easy to cheat…at least I’m prone to cheating when I when I keep track this way. I can sit at a desk for hours with a pen in hand or my fingers poised above a keyboard and write absolutely nothing. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: You cannot think a novel into existence. You have to “write” a novel into existence.
As we were driving up from Mexico we were talking about how to get exercise on the road in hotels. My sister-in-law, Marice, said you can think about your novel on a treadmill. She was right, but you can’t write a novel on a treadmill. And the truth is that you better be thinking about you novel all the time, but this is thinking is not writing.
Pages are a more accurate then time, but there is room for fudging with this tracking method as well. A standard double spaced 12 font manuscript page contains approximately 250 words. How big is the page your writing on? How large is your printing or cursive? On a computer are you writing long chapters or short chapters? Do you indent down three-quarters down the page to start a chapter? When you end a chapter do you count the last page with only a sentence as a full page? After all there is a page number on it and the page is done. See what I mean?
Word count. This is the only “honest” way to keep track of your daily writing quota. But it’s also fun to time it as you count your words. It will help you figure out how fast you write, or in my case, how slow I write. I’m sort of joking about this. In a couple of week’s I will have finished 3 new novels in a year, which isn’t too bad considering I was away from the farm for 7 or 8 months during that year. The only way I was able to accomplish this was to spend every spare moment, not matter where I was, or what was going on writing, playing close attention to how many words I produced everyday including Christmas.
We are back at the farm! Yahoo! The good news is that we had our floors refinished while we were gone and they are beautiful. The bad news is that everything we own is shoved into two rooms and has to be moved back onto those beautifully refinished floors. I think I’m a remodeling magnet.
Ironic. The day I get back from Mexico I make my 100th post.