Ever read Frank Herbert’s Dune? There is a particular passage from that book that writers should take to heart. For that matter, it is a passage that we should all take to heart.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
- Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.
That quote has been on my mind quite a bit lately. It’s not that I walk around in a constant state of fear, or even that I’m a particularly anxious person in general. But I, like many other people, am sometimes too trepidatious when it comes to change. I don’t like risking the status quo on the possibility that I might be able to make an improvement with a situation with which I just may be relatively comfortable. In short, I don’t really like to gamble that I might be able to make an “all right” situation into a “hell yeah!” situation. I prefer to dip my toe in to test the waters, rather than cannonball into the middle of the pool without regard for the temperature.
But I’m beginning to realize that sometimes a little risk is the only way to get anywhere. You’d think I would have learned this little life lesson from the many years of martial arts training. You can’t win if you’re always on the defense. At some point you have to take a chance and go after your opponent. You have to roll the dice. I’m beginning to accept this in writing, and in life in general.
All right, that’s enough from philosophy corner. On to the “Here’s what’s happening” portion of our broadcast…
Streets of Payne has been moving along quite well. After a few weeks of nothing more than dribs and drabs of progress, I managed to hit a roll. Last Sunday I got 1700 words written on it, followed by 1900 on Monday (Labor Day).
Tuesday was a wash, and on Wednesday we were able to get tickets to Cirque du Soliel’s Kooza at an incredible discount (thanks James!!! ), so I didn’t get any writing done then, either. Last night was Thursday, and I managed another 825 words. That gives me a total of 4425 words so far this week! Not too shabby for someone with a day job. Now, if I can just keep the momentum up, I should be able to complete the novel in… (let’s see – call it 4000 words per week, and an estimated projection of 80000 words in the novel, with approximately 47000 already done – that leaves 33000 words to do… so 33000 words divided by 4000 words per week gives me approximately 8.25 weeks of work…) just over two months. That’s early November for the first draft – just in time for the holidays.
Of course, that won’t be the end of it. I’m pretty sure I’ll want to go back and re-write the first 15000 words or so, as I mentioned in an earlier post. And all this presupposes that I don’t get derailed with plotting, character, or other writing issues. But it’s heartening to see the progress I can make, given the right circumstances – even when working around the day job. And the new office honestly helps. It keeps me focussed and gives me a great environment where I can write on my new XPS laptop, and simultaneously research on up to two others. Yes, the big advantage to working in IT is that I have the knowledge to keep my old Dimension e520 limping along, and was also able to piece together an old Dell Optiplex Gx620 desktop from parts that were being thrown out. That gives me three computers to work on at the same time while I’m up there.
On a more personal note – I had a bit of a realization the other day. I am fifty-one years old (wait for it, that’s not the realization ). I am fifty-one years old, and I have been married to a wonderful woman for more than twenty-six years. I see that as a milestone. You see, I’ve kept the poor, near-sighted woman fooled for more than half my lifetime now. More importantly, I’ve kept her fooled for more than half of her lifetime!
I love you, baby. May your vision never improve!
That’s it for now, folks. As always, stay safe.