Thursday, 16 October 2008

Move over Nano. Big Buta is here...


Okay. Here we go. I’ll lay it out for you.

I’ve been feeling pretty lousy recently, in terms of writing. Moping around feeling sorry for myself. Never enough time. Too tired. Too many other commitments. You know, any excuse will do kinda thing.

The reason, as outlined in Monday’s post, was that I missed the deadline for The Manx Giant. It really knocked me sideways, so much so that I’ve barely looked at the manuscript in the past three weeks. On top of that, other ideas for plots have been burrowing into my mind, even though I know only too well that my simple brain can’t take the thought of having any more unfinished projects hanging over me.

And with Nano next month, I kept thinking back to 2006, when I had such a superb time taking part. I really wanted to try it again this year, but knew that to do so would mean starting yet another project, which would be just plain stupid.

I felt stranded, watching the days slip by into weeks and wondering what the hell was going on. My frustration culminated in Monday’s post, which I somehow knew would break the spell and sort me out. By admitting to our faults and facing up to our issues – this is the way we move on with life.

It took three days, but it’s worked. It’s time to cut all the bullshit and get back in the groove.

So, here it is – forget Nano. This is war on procrastination. This is Quirky’s BUTA (boot up the arse) challenge. I’m refreshed and raring to go.

In the 15 days that remain of October, and the 30 Nano-ing days of November, I’m setting myself a challenge so huge you could stick a tail on it and call it a brontosaurus.

By November 30, I will have completed The Manx Giant – and also have finished the first draft of my young adult novel, which has been stuck at the 50,000-word mark since, well, November 30, 2006.

It’s a big ask. I’m estimating that to complete both will take in the region of 45,000 words. That’s 1,000 words a day, which doesn’t seem so bad when to hit the Nano you have to knock out 50,000 in 30 days. However, writing non-fiction is deceiving – when you’re having to read historical research documents, cross checking facts as you go, you can work for five hours and come away with a solid 500 words completed, and feel like you’ve done 5,000.

Getting back into The Manx Giant will be easy – it’s all still fresh in my mind and I know what needs doing. Delving back into the world of the YA project, getting to know Tom, Megan and Quackenbush all over again... that will take longer. First job on that one is to dust off the hard copy and read it again. The juices will flow soon after.


While this won’t be an official Nano, as far as personal challenges go, this is the biggest I’ve ever taken on. It’s going to hurt, if November 2006 is anything to go by. The long hours, the constant clock/calendar watching as the days tick by and you question your sanity. Thankfully, I know a few other writers who are attempting the Nano, so I will be staying close to them, feeding off them as all Nanoists do off each other.

So there you have it. Quirky’s BUTA challenge. Feel free to tag along for the ride – I’ll be blogging regularly during the next 45 days, providing quick updates as to how I’m getting on and maintaining a running total of how many times Emma (and the kids) has threatened to bottle me.

Finishing two books in 45 days? Can it be done? Right now, I haven’t a clue. But it’s going to be fun finding out.

5 comments:

Ady Hall said...

And I'm looking forward to following your progress along these few weeks, dude!

John Quirk said...

Thanks, Big Man. Lots of cheerleading from the sidelines, that's what I need. Although leave off with the pom-poms, I don't need that kind of distraction...

Beer, though, that's a different matter. November 1, Bestie's birthday, will be my first pit stop for refuelling.

Kate said...

Go for it John - I know you can do it!!

David said...

Sounds like a good plan! Go for it! :)

Btw, you do know they've relaxed the rules in NaNo this year, don't you? There's a new 'NaNo Rebels' forum for rule-breakers of every kind.

David Bridger

John Quirk said...

Cheers for the support, Kate and David.

A Nano Rebel Force? Hmm, intriguing it sounds. Investigate I will have to...