I set a deadline. Again.

I’ve had a lot of big ideas over the years, some of which I’ve shared here on my blog or on Twitter. I remind myself a lot of my dad in this respect. He was the consummate Idea Man, and when he died, he had notebooks full of plans and schemes that he’d never acted on.

The reasons behind his inability to see those ideas through are complicated. No point in going into it, now.

Most of the ideas I’ve had haven’t been entirely abandoned. They’ve just been put on the back burner, or rather, the many, many back burners of a very large stove. Throughout it all, there’s been one thing, one true love, that I always come back to. It manages to be a major component of almost all of my ideas, woven into the plans, taken for granted that it would play a big part in whatever scheme I was cooking up.

Writing, ladies and gentlemen. Admit it: you saw it coming.

I took an English Composition class in high school. The class should’ve been called “Fucking around for an hour on old-ass Macs.” The teacher wasn’t interested in teaching any sort of history or writing technique. Which was fine by me. I didn’t have a computer at the time at home, so between that class and an Intro to CAD class (which should’ve been called “Fucking around for an hour on old-ass PCs that don’t actually have any proper CAD software on them”), I spent a good portion of my day either writing or playing games. A lot of stories came out of that period of my life. And every single one of them are lost.

But no matter. They were probably rubbish anyway.

Last month, writers all over the world were engaged in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, which is apparently more International than merely “National.” The idea is to write the first draft, however rough and dirty, of a 50,000-word novel in the space of thirty days. This is done in a community setting, with lots of support available to the struggling writer. I signed up on their website, updated my word count maybe twice, and fell well short of the target of 50,000 words.

I wrote, but not much. Lack of motivation is a motherfucker. It was an ideal time to be writing, not having a job or any family-related responsibilities (even with Thanksgiving). The novel languished. My confidence floundered. Things were bleak.

Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. Truth is, the word count didn’t bother me, nor did the idea of not “winning” NaNoWriMo. What I did manage to write is quality stuff. For a first draft, I mean.

So this thing is happening. I am writing a novel.

Not right now, obviously. I took a break from writing to write a blog post about writing. I feel like if I share my story with the world, there’s some degree of accountability (which is part of NaNoWriMo, too). And I’ll share my deadline, too.

March 6, 2015 is the date. That’s the deadline for a finished first draft of my novel. How did I come up with that date? Well, I knew it’d be in March, and when I thought about the month of March, that’s the date that popped into my head. Significant? If it wasn’t before, it is now. It’s completely feasible, as long as I stay focused.

Once I hit that target, I plan on letting the draft sit, untouched, on the hard drives of my computers and on the cloud (to which I continuously back up my work) and do a bit of travelling. After a few weeks, I’ll begin the editing process. And I’ll start thinking about publishing, of which many avenues are available.

About the novel: it’s science fiction, and the working title is “Sterling City.” That title refers to a fictional setting in the book which is no longer in the book. Yes, I’ve already excised the title city. It was an interesting setting, but it had two problems. One, it was too similar to Freeside from William Gibson’s “Neuromancer.” Two, and most importantly, it didn’t fit the world I was creating. So it’s gone, and I’ll come up with a better title later.

I’ll share my experience periodically, and I’ll still continue my Backlog Sunday series. All work and no play, I’ve heard, is a bad thing. And anything that keeps my typing skills warm, even when I need a break from the novel, is a good thing.

Okay, back to work.

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