Multi-Tasking with Cecilia (Cecilia Peartree)

 In my previous post here I reported on my new writing plan for 2023, but I must confess I've already driven a coach and horses through it. The desolate wastes of January seemed to stretch so far ahead that I couldn't restrict myself to working on only one novel at a time, but I didn't entirely expect to end the month having written 12,000 words of the novel I was halfway with as well as 15,000 of the one I didn't intend to start until February. And there's more...

What I had planned to do was to spend most of January finishing the historical novel I was in the middle of, while occasionally getting out my plotting notebook to draft a plot for a new mystery novel in one of my existing series. I'm not quite sure where it all went wrong, but I think that as usual I got bored with plotting and decided I wouldn't know where the story was going until I made a start on writing it. I am already well aware that this is a high-risk strategy and often results in a lot of hair-tearing when I discover I've got the days of the week in the wrong order, haven't allowed the characters any time away from work, which is contrary to the European Working Time Directive though perhaps we are no longer bound by that by now anyway, and then I end up having to rearrange the chapters for the whole thing to make sense.

Still, despite having set myself up for a chaotic month, I was progressing quite well at first. I made a rule that I would try for 1,000 words a day, distributed more or less equally between the two projects, and that I would aim to work on one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I deliberately didn't make a rule about which one was worked on in which session, because that would have defeated my purpose, which was to have some choice about what I would write each time I sat down at the computer.

So far, so good. It wasn't until the middle of the month that things started to go seriously wrong. That was when I discovered a short story challenge I couldn't resist. Actually, I quite often can't resist writing challenges. They bring out a competitive streak in me that was only previously evident when I played tennis as a teenager. Usually the writing challenge takes place over a short period of time, such as a month, but this one is different in that it happens in stages and takes about 6 months to be complete. However, the saving grace is that you can be kicked out after one round and not have to suffer through the entire 6 months! 
Round 1 of this challenge has just finished, but the results won't be available until mid April, just before round 2 starts. The time span and  required word count decrease with each round until the unfortunates who are still there in July for the final round only have 24 hours to write a 1,000 word story. Round 1, which I couldn't resist signing up for, allowed a week or so to write a 2,500 word story, following 3 prompts including one for genre - I got 'Fairy Tale' but it could have been much worse than that!. I wasn't sure about fitting it into the day, but in an amazing stroke of luck, something I was supposed to be doing for my local committee was postponed until March, and we had already cancelled our monthly committee meeting to make room for this other thing, so I used my committee secretary time to write the story.

If anyone would like to put themselves through this torment some time, the website is here: NYCmidnight . 
There are other writing challenges as well as the short story one.  


Reb MacRath said…
Congratulations, you're surely on a roll!

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