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Give Me The Night.

Currently it's the afternoon of Monday 25th December. Christmas day. All's quiet in my neck of the woods. Plus, it's nightfall when the muse really comes alive; when the neighbourhood is quiet. No more loud music blasting from in-car sound systems as the drivers loiter without intent. Or nighttime revellers full of drink and chatter. Neighbours with unruly dogs and loud TVs. Once they sleep, then the muse is truly alive. But I'm not writing anything, apart from this journal entry. Not yet.

The last few months have been ...challenging, to say the least. Post-surgery this July (which was a repair to a partially torn tendon in my left pec last July) left me out of commission for two months with my arm in a sling. As you might imagine, very little writing was done. To be fair, friends and peers had suggested various brands of voice-to-text software that'd let me get some productivity in. And I could have pursued those methods ...but they're not me. There've been additional challenges, such as rehab, property maintenance, etc.

What I have done now, thankfully, is finish outlining the new novel. For the most part, authors fall somewhere between one of two camps. They either write by the seat of the pants; and are therefore known as pantsers. Or, they need to outline the story before they write it. I'm more of an outliner - that said, the outline's not set in stone. It does mean that the outline I create allows me some wiggle room to improvise if that's where the story takes me. But I need that framework from the outset.

The last couple of weeks have seen me working on the outline to get a half-decent framework on the page. But it's not always been like that. My first (and to-date, only) National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) effort, where the aim is to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November, saw me write a 52,000 word novel in 29 days. Aside from that, my other speedy effort was the first draft of But Worse Will Come, which I knocked out in 3 weeks. Maybe I'm slowing down. Maybe.

Given that I've only just finished outlining this new novel and there's a week to go before the end of the year, what are the odds that I'll actually get it done in a week?

Here's the thing. There's no contractual obligation I have to get this done in a week. But I'd like to get it done ASAP because:

1. it's long overdue

2. I've already got the next novel idea firmly in mind, itching to be written and

3. I'm still working to keep up with the muse.

It's not the worst position to be in to get ideas faster than you can write them. But right now, it's not enough - not fast enough, and not enough books. In addition to the next novel waiting to be written (right after the current one), there's another book finished over the last few months that needs an overhaul. But that's going to wait until I've knocked out the current book. Because it's gonna keep bugging me if I don't. And it might sound strange to be working now, where many people would take the festive season to chill and back down a gear or two. Believe me, that's actually what I'm doing. To just sit and write when the exercise regime alone puts me through the wringer. And already I can envision how that's going to tax a body when I get back to squats, benching, and the like.

The good thing is that, novel-wise, the groundwork is done. Basic research has been done, outlining has been done, pictorial reference material has been compiled. And since the start and end of writing each long piece of fiction starts with a glass of Jack Daniel's Honey whisky and Coke, both beverages are ready, and the whisky glass famously engraved with 'Get Shit Done' is on standby.

Open road, so to speak ...and miles to go. Give me the night.



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