I was awed when I read that John Boyne wrote The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in two and a half days,
And miserable. I’m still working on my second novel and I don’t see an end in sight to the two and a half day increments ahead.
Then I got angry. Was it real? Did he actually complete this wonderful novel in that short of a time?
I used the google machine and found this in an interview in The Guardian, Saturday April 1, 2017
When I wrote The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, the idea came to me on a Tuesday evening, I began writing on Wednesday morning and continued for 60 hours with only short breaks, not sleeping on Wednesday or Thursday nights and finishing the first draft by Friday lunchtime.
I felt a little better when I read that he wrote a first draft in those few days and then wrote another ten drafts. But still, he told the story in one fell swoop.
That was impressive. In my head I thought, time did not get the better of him. He owned time.
Time can push writers around. “How much writing did you get done today?” Ever get asked that question? Ever ask yourself that question?
Time can interfere with writers and keep them from building their cocoon – that totally safe and untouchable place where a novel can grow uninterrupted into the gorgeous butterfly that shows up finished, edited and flies away into published fame.
Time can kill a novel.
But there is hope. If you throw math at it, it looks like this:
Let’s say you type 40 words a minute. (you can substitute any number here later) that’s 2400 words in one hour. If you work a 40 hour a week job, 8 hours a day (1 hour for lunch) in one week you could type around 96,000 words.
Give or take a few thousand words depending on lunch and other breaks.
Yes, you could write a novel in a week if that was all you did.
Years ago, a friend of mine went all Zen – he turned his life to Eastern teachings and remained that way until he met a young woman whose ideology was decidedly different. Romance 101. But while he was deep into his Zen life he gave me a piece of advice during the time I struggled with my play.
It took me four years to write that play and when asked why I would stop working on it I would always say I just don’t have time.
My friend wrote me a note with this quote in it:
Time is a created thing. To say, ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.
Perhaps we can’t write a first draft in 60 hours like John Boyne, but we can use time like he did and not let time abuse us.
We can possess all the power over time we want. There is that old “secret” about intention. I didn’t want to write and so I didn’t have time. When my intention was to write, time was there.
Whatever it takes, don’t let time kill your writing. Take charge and your first draft will be in your hands. Literally.
Christina for Penpaperwrite
If you want to learn how to organize, visualize and actualize your novel the next 60 Scenes® Method 1-Day Workshop is Saturday, September 21st Atlanta, GA
This is the LAST WORKSHOP in 2019! www.60scenes.com to register – only 15 spots open so register early.
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www.60scenes.com register now for this workshop – this is a chance to explore your ideas and take them to the next level. I will see you there.