The best laid schemes…

Robert Burns had a point.

Last night I thought out my schemes for today. I came up with a shortlist of important (writing) things I wanted to do:

  • Add to this blog
  • Submit some material to a new, non-professional, e-zine for Australian Fantasy (they’re non-paying but accepting simultaneous submissions, and a successful submission would mean a publication credit and a confidence boost)
  • Submit a new short story to a professional market Australian Spec-Fic ezine (gotta keep on submitting)

I also had some other (non-writing) things. I had to get some stuff done for my actual, professional career (the one that pays the bills, puts food on the table and keeps a rented roof over my head). I had to do some shopping for groceries etc… I would have liked to go to the gym. I had to get some eggs for Easter. The list could easily go on.

So here I am. 8:30pm. Working on dot-point one.

What happened?

Well I have two sons. One is four, the other just over a year. The younger one has gastro. We found this out last night… the hard way. I will spare you the details but it involved frequent vomiting. My wife lost more sleep over it than me, but it was still a late night. Then the older one woke up at about 4:30 and he was all mine.

This morning the youngest one didn’t go to child-care, and my wife needed sleep, so that was most of my day. Then the actual important stuff, like the groceries, the sick child, the housework etc… took over.

I don’t post this as a sob-story or an excuse though. I post this because I believe this is part of being an amateur writer. I reckon it’s probably part of being a professional writer. I reckon it’s life, and it sure does “gang oft agley”

This is part of the reason my novel manuscript took nearly a decade of occasional work (the other reason is it’s a fantasy door-stopper of a novel weighing in at just over 241,000 words).  It’s the reason I don’t like those ‘write a novel in a month’ plans that are on the internet.

But, despite all this, sometimes plans go awry in a good way. I was walking my sick son this morning, as as I walked around I started to find that fragments of ideas that had been bouncing through my skull were coalescing into an actual, viable, novel plan. So when I got the boys to bed I wrote this plan out a bit, and now I’ve written a profile of one of the principal characters. Soon I’ll add more planning (in the draft heading of the menu) including a plotting planner I use and some other pre-writing exercises.

Based on the planning I’ve done so far I should get a manuscript of about 80,000 words out of this (I’m planning to write about 90 and trim up to 10 in editing). That’s about novel length. So if everything goes according to plan you should be able to watch as a novel goes from idea (today) to submitted manuscript (?)…

If everything goes according to plan.

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