03 February 2007


As you may have noticed, I haven't had time to get to this blog during the past week or so. That's probably going to continue for a little while, as I try rather manically to catch up with writing my novella for War Stories.

What with there having been Christmas last year and everything, this work has slipped back rather, so that I've had to impose a fairly rigorous writing schedule on myself to get it... well, started, to be honest. I'm pretty much entirely hopeless in matters of self-discipline, as anyone who saw me at mealtimes over Christmas can attest.

Being remarkably anally-retentive, I've broken my time down into all the days I'm free from work, then worked out how much of which chapter I can sensibly expect to write on each of them -- factoring in the necessary Surefish columns, a couple of possible one-off articles and a Beer Festival, all of which are coming up in the next few months.

Fortunately the fact of knowing that this expectation exists, even if only in my brain, has been sufficient so far to force me into actually doing the work, rather than arsing around on the internet, reading mailing lists, fiddling with Wikipedia and the like.

When I was an undergraduate I could write 4000-word essays overnight. Admittedly I didn't enjoy it much, which is why I left it to the last minute. And nobody was holding me to a publishable standard, and non-fiction is different anyway... but still, I envy my younger self that facility with language. Even when I was writing Of the City of the Saved... I often managed 2000 words in a day, and there were a couple when I was pushing 3000, but they were exceptional even then.

I can't imagine being able to work that fast now. The more fiction I write, the more pitfalls and difficulties I can see, the more care and attention I feel I have to put into each individual word, sentence and paragraph, and the longer it takes.

Admittedly, getting broadband probably hasn't helped either.

Over the past four days I've managed a respectable 6000 words, but it's been a killer. Most of the schedule demands 1000 to 1250 a day, which is more achievable but still a bit punishing.

All of which is a roundabout -- and, under the circumstances, an unnecessarily verbose -- way of saying that updates to this blog are going to be slowing down somewhat in the forseeable future. Before, of course, being reborn triumphant after my deadline.

I'll try to keep up the mini book reviews, but I'm behind on those already. Expect something, er, Wednesday possibly. If that's all right with everyone.

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