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17 June 2005 @ 11:22 pm
High Stakes  
My dad just bet me a thousand dollars that I can finish a (romance) novel for an attempt at publication by November.

(In a moment of SHEER PARENTAL CRAZINESS, he offered to pay me the prize to motivate me, and I was the one who suggested a bet. Since, you know, the fear of LOSING money is strong in me.)

I will quit my job (or, ideally, they'll let me work less than 4 hours a week, so that I can be on the payroll to keep getting free yoga classes and cheap food). Quitting is important, because I know myself, and I work best if I have a single priority that is very clearly my single priority. (Multi-tasking on a large scale is difficult for me -- health vs. school vs. king house, etc. I'm going to let myself handle one challenge -- THE NOVEL -- at a time here.)

The November deadline is fairly arbitrary, really. I estimated totally at random that it would take me 4 months to write (and edit) my first novel, and sometime in early November is also the deadline for readmittance to Brown for the winter semester -- something I haven't yet decided about either way -- so there's already something marked in the calendar.

I worked out a budget on scrap paper in about thirty seconds. If I complete the novel and sell it (giving myself more budgeted time in order to pimp myself at Harlequin), I will at least break even. (I'd also exactly break even if I remained in my current job -- I make only just enough to meet my insurance and bills.) If I complete it and don't sell it, I'll be out a couple thousand dollars.

I will also have regained my self-worth. This, by me, is important, and worth (EEEEEK) draining my finish-school savings.

For what sounds like it should be a seriously irrational plan ("omg, I will quit my job and WRITE A NOVEL!"), this is remarkably rational. They'll still have stores in four months where I can work retail again.

(No, seriously, what is my dad THINKING!?)

The only way I really lose is, of course, if I say I'm going to do it and I fail. Again. *smites that thought down with a sledgehammer* Did I mention I'm axing negative thoughts? I'm borrowing against that self-worth I will have when I FINISH THE GODDAMNED NOVEL, like keenween has been telling me to do for YEARS.

I picked up some of the romance novels I have lying around tonight to show what I meant by "series fiction", and my parents leafed through one. (My mother was vaguely traumatized at the idea that I would write sex scenes -- despite our numerous conversations about how I already *do* that -- but I reassured her that I'd just "ask some more experienced people to edit for me!" Mothers like answers like that.) My dad, however, finds a bigger problem: "This has a PLOT!" he says, and I start to worry. "There are hostages! And cops! And intrigue!" And I checked the author's note and she made mention of extensive research, and I went "eep." And had a bit of a silent I-can't-DO-THIS!! -I-don't-KNOW-anything!! freakout, because that sounds harder than fanfic.

But my sister's plan of action in life -- which she plans to impart upon me, as it is more effective than my own plan of non-action -- is that "every problem has a solution." And she's right -- once I DECIDE TO DO IT, I can handle it, whether it means writing a novel that avoids lots of things I must research and hostage-taking plots, or just doing the research even though it's not the absolute easiest thing. Because I have these skills. This really isn't that hard. It's not out of the realm of my abilities, just out of the realm of my experience. And it's about time I broke out of my shell.

I just need to decide to do it.

Once I decide, I'll have to come up with some kind of plan/schedule/support system that will allow me to work productively with smaller deadlines rather than have just the big scary final deadline loom off in the distance.

I could create a locked community with scheduled weekly posts for the interested (and/or the benevolent, who just want to cheer/bully me on), but right now that's the best I can come up with. Buddies would be good, too, if anyone else is undertaking something major in the next little while. I plan to treat this like a job -- wherein I have manageable, weekly deadlines and that, if I routinely fail to meet those deadlines I will have to fire myself and get a new job (and fork over a thousand dollars!). However, my dad rightfully pointed out (before the parental craziness and the bet) that making something a job doesn't really work without having a boss, or at least someone else who will be disappointed or inconvenienced if you don't get your work done on time. Any better ideas on how I can make myself accountable?

If you don't count the months of general introspection leading up to this, I'd like to point out that, at fifty-something hours, this was my shortest and least painful existential crisis on record. ;) (No, universe, that was *not* an invitation to mess with me some more. I'm looking for more clarity, here.)


Related only in that it's writing: I'm going to update my website soon, which is right now only current through the fall of 2004. I'm a decade behind everyone else, for instead of using tags, I FINALLY found and noted all my fic in my memories (except comment-ficlets, which I couldn't find, but which can be memory'd in the future!). Explore and enjoy if you want until I update my site. :)
feel: determineddetermined
hear: "Lookin' Forward" - Over the Rhine
Ari (creature of dust, child of God)wisdomeagle on June 18th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
Buddies would be good, too, if anyone else is undertaking something major in the next little while.

I didn't have anything in mind, but I might be persuaded. I'd have to think of some kind of achievable goal though and that would be like, work.

In any case, the best of luck to you. :)
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
*laughs* You really don't have to! When I asked for buddies, I didn't mean to make people come up with new projects so much as go "oh, hey, I've got to plan a wedding by that time, so..." etc. :)
Shai PeriHawkperihawk on June 18th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC)
I'm going to reply to this when my stomach is less urky.
Little Red: sga - cute when sick - duckadorkmylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
*makes you very weak tea*
MegTDJ: Dan/Jan Touch - fraiser_jacksonmeg_tdj on June 18th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
I've already committed to writing (at least mostly) my first original novel by the end of this year, so I guess that could count as me being in it with you?
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC)
Rock on you! :)
A.j.: smutaj on June 18th, 2005 05:09 am (UTC)
Eee! Two people I know attempting to write books!!!!


I want a Sachi-novel! I want to get a signed copy! That I can brandish and bushwhack people with! ::bounces around::

I love knowing creative people. You can do this.

Damn. I want to reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeead it!
Little Red: trashy romance novels! - qwirkymylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)
HEEEE! You want a signed copy of my trashy romance novel? *giggles and gleees*

You can totally read it! It will be exciting!! Although, on the whole, I suck at and don't like posting WIPs, I think this would be a VERY GOOD opportunity to have a li'l community (or do so locked or filtered on my LJ) such that I can post and receive feedback and things like "WRITE MORE, BITCH, IT'S FUCKING FRIDAY, WHERE'S MY CHAPTER!?" ;) I'm really not sure how I can set up the right kind of motivation, but I do need to.

And I should rip research right off my LJ -- I could have a protagonist be a librarian in a university. ;) Who would a librarian shack up with after (200 pages later) finally overcoming some sort of externally imposed hurdle that has kept down their meant-to-be-ness? (Hey, I never said I was writing high art here... but, despite people who are nattering on about my Potential and my Dharma I think it's perfectly respectable not to write War and Peace right out of the gate, thankyouverymuch.)
AND HOW! - aj on June 18th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Abusus non tollit usumlavidaessueno on June 18th, 2005 05:10 am (UTC)
I've got a novel outlined as well. I was planning to NaNoWriMo, but this sounds better.
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
*punches fist in air* YESSSSSS!! Here I'm proposing to give myself (and you, if you want to join me) a longer time before final deadline, but we aren't saying that the novel has to be a crappy novel. ;)

You're also way ahead of me. I have no such outline. However, I'm planning to write to a formula, so somebody will give mer a few outline points already. ;)
Rose Wilde-Irishrosewildeirish on June 18th, 2005 05:12 am (UTC)
*readies pom-poms* You can do this. And it's so cool.


I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo this year...in case that helps/fits/whatever.
Little Red: trashy romance novels! - qwirkymylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:45 pm (UTC)
Cool!! I'm hoping to be done by the middle, if not the beginning of NaNo (depending on when I can get off work now -- er, was dreaming about wanking out on my supervisors turning in my notice to my supervisors). We can take turns bouncing around and cheering for each other. :)
fycaidle_dreamer on June 18th, 2005 05:15 am (UTC)
There's this lovely little story floating around in my head. I'd like to bring it into being, but I seem to be incapable of doing such things. And it does require research. But I've got two books sitting on my bedside table that are occasionally flipped through. No real plot...I hate plots...but if you're up for it, then so am I.

PS - I'd even be willing to quit bothering you about AFR, if that will help.
Little Red: xf - diana slut - liminallizmylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm sure that putting off the end of AFR for another four months won't really matter in the galactic scheme of how long it has already taken. ;)

Plus, I have no idea if I'll be able to multitask my creativity or not. I hope so -- I'd be sad to not be able to write any fanfic about my beloved characters for four months on my downtime -- but I'll be taking out all other priorities, so we'll see. :)

And rock on! I didn't know you were planning to write a story...
(no subject) - idle_dreamer on June 18th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Human Collaborator Flunkie Pool!fic Muse: Wonder/Beauty (by Matilda7)joyfulfeather on June 18th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC)
Wow. *sends lots of good luck type thoughts your way* I have no doubt you can do it. And I definitely look forward to seeing the end result. ;)

Seriously, I'm glad you have this challenge! A goal is really a great way to get yourself motivated. Go you!
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
ME TOO!! *bounces* I'm mostly glad my dad said this because it totally STUNNED me that he actually thought I both could and should do it. I have an image of myself as someone who never finishes anything she promises to do, and, from what he has said, I assumed he felt that way too 100%. But he has HOOOOPE and now so do I.

And, the biggest thing, now I don't feel FANTASTICALLY selfish for saying I'm doing this. :) Yayyyy!

I love having parents who are both artists (too). It's nice that they really do get it and can relate it to times in their own lives.
Working for the Mandroidmoonshayde on June 18th, 2005 05:16 am (UTC)
I am supposed to have my first novel completed by the end of the year as well. It's in outline phase currently.

Currently do have a short story done and is in the editting phase before I start to look for publication. Eep!

Does that count? ;)
Little Red: trashy romance novels! - qwirkymylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:52 pm (UTC)
Of course it counts!! *is inspired by you* I'm not really thinking about publication yet, beyond making sure my story is (more or less) qualified for publication in one of the romance lines. I think I'll stick to visualizing having a book done and bound at Staples and taking the "aspiring" out of "I AM A WRITER." Hee.

(And then, of course, I never have to do it again. Or I *can.* The future seems sort of irrelevant to the current project, strangely enough.)
(no subject) - moonshayde on June 18th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ryuu: katebug48: Yeah it's fitting.karma_aster on June 18th, 2005 05:25 am (UTC)
Keen! I totally need to get prodded into finishing writing my novel. It could be a very good one. If I actually got around to finishing it, that is.
Little Red: xf - diana slut - liminallizmylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:54 pm (UTC)
Wheeeeee!! I know someone writing a good novel! :) Mine will be... fun, I hope? *goes for entertainment rather than deep meaning*

We'll have to start a community of mutual asskicking. There appears to be a demand for it. *grins*
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: xf - diana slut - liminallizmylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
We so totally can! So, a comm of mutual encouragement/asskicking, then?
(Deleted comment)
רותם שחר (Ro): broken smileroothekittykat on June 18th, 2005 05:31 am (UTC)
i like the community idea, and i've had a few people ask me if i've considered writing original stories and not just fanfiction, so we might be able to set up some sort of goals or something for each other...

i actually started an original story 2 or 3 notebooks ago, that i might want to go back and reread and continue/finish/restart/something...hmmm...

and from reading everyone elses entries so far, it seems like you could do both have a community for your book, and have another community of sorts as a challenge!assignment!youbetterwriteorelsewe'llbemadatyou community where each person has to write a chapter or a certain amount of words or something like that...that way we're all accountable to everyone else on that community who's also writing their stories or something like that.
Little Red: trashy romance novels! - qwirkymylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
Hmm. But our goals might not be comparable, so perhaps the community is one for more general asskicking and encouragement rather than *specific* deadlines? I suppose we could all have Deadline Days though or something so we all turn in whatever we decided was our next deadline...

Something to think about!! (Of course, we'd have to be careful that the community and reading other people's stuff didn't detract from actually writing our own stuff!)
(no subject) - roothekittykat on June 19th, 2005 02:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
NEXT TIME I'M IN CHURCH, PLEASE NO PHOTOS: {gen}; your inner editordaygloparker on June 18th, 2005 05:34 am (UTC)
DUDE! This is awesome. Also, if I can develop this one idea that I've had floating around in my head for a while, I'd be your buddy!
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
DUUUUDE! So do that! :)
sour girl: jolene - guhspeshulduck on June 18th, 2005 05:44 am (UTC)
Awesome, knock it out. You totally can. While I can't write my own stuff along with you (not courageous enough yet to do that original stuff), I'll totally be on the sidelines with pom-pons in my band uniform, cheering you on.
Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC)
*is pumped* YAY!! pom-poms! Can they be red? :)
entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on June 18th, 2005 07:43 am (UTC)
I declare that you can do this! Yes!

Little Red: gleee! - nenyamylittleredgirl on June 18th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
Eeee! *is all excited that people think I can DO THINGS and that I am not crazy!* Well, crazy in that way!