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Episode 21- Are we there yet

In All Jest,
Episode 21,episode 21, broadcast on
at26th of March 2021



Welcome to the In All Jest podcast.

I'm Darryl, your host, and each week I take you on a hero's journey.

I leave my safe, normal world and face many obstacles on my quest to publish not just one but six epic fantasy novels. .

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

You can find out more information at kingdarryl.com/podcast.

This is episode 21 recorded on March the 26th, 2021. In the back of my head all I can hear are my children saying dad, are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Since Last Time


So what's happened since last time? Well, it's been three weeks since I recorded the last episode. I did take a mini break in the middle of that, a long weekend away; did a bit of fishing, bit of camping, just being away from things. I still managed to write a little bit, while I was away, but in general, it was a break away from everyday working life and did impact on production and where I was at. It also impacted on recording.  Not only did I not get in between episodes, but the end result was not long after that I got a little unwell and ended up having to miss last week as well. Voice wasn't too good and health in general was just a little bit lower than it could be.

So that set me back a little bit, but not too much as far as my writing went. In the last three weeks, I wrote 24,348 words in 14 writing days, which works out just over 1700 words a day. So still consistent with my daily goals, working through where I want to be. As I outlined in the previous episode, 200,000 words was the target, but I wasn't sure that that was going to get me to the end of the story.

Right now I'm at 207,005 words, and I am not done yet at this stage. So I was very accurate there in understanding I wasn't going to complete everything at that point. But I did pass 200,000 words, got through that and I'm continuing to work on where I'm at. So, now what? Well, first up, there's a lot of frustration and disappointment for me at not being finished.

It is almost the end of March. I had aimed for the end of February to hit my 200,000 words. I was a little bit behind that and everything's cascading down from that. Playing catch up is never fun, and I know I'm very close, but I'm not done. And even though I can talk to myself and encourage myself and recognize that I've still achieved a massive amount in the timeframe that I have, it is hard to live with or reconcile - that's probably a better word - the fact that I'm not done.

I'm finding it quite annoying that I'm not there, and the frustrations of not being able to write full-time at this point in my career, it just plays on that and it makes that feeling exaggerated. And I know that that is a long-term goal and it's not feasible early in my career that that would fund everything on its own.

And it leaves me in that position where I'm caught between wanting to publish in a timely fashion and continue writing with discipline, but also running my businesses, doing the other ventures that I'm involved in, including my volunteer work. And that's difficult to reconcile sometimes. And it just plays on that.

So when you don't meet a deadline, you don't meet a goal and you feel behind, it does feed or fuel the negative feelings that go around it. It's deflating to hit these types of obstacles. I do know it affects lots of other writers that life or missing deadlines and things affects them. It affects everyone, I think, when you set goals and don't really achieve them.

So I have to try and balance that and not let it affect what I'm trying to do. It's probably no different to any other side hustle when you have daytime job and you're trying to do something on the side, you're always being challenged with those feelings.

I want to be here. I want to be doing that. It doesn't necessarily support what I'm doing. You're constantly battling between that. You want to give good energy to what you're currently doing, but you're also looking to move away from it. And it's difficult. It kind of feeds the enemy within. The voices in your mind.

And because of it, other doubts get more air. Because you're vulnerable in those moments, your feelings bubble up, there's a lot more exposure of them. Some things that you might easily be able to brush off or rationalize, get more air, take a bigger grip, get more focus. So that can be difficult.

Voices around the writing. Is it worth it? Am I any good? This isn't your thing. If it was, you'd be able to get it done. They all get more air time. And you're not just then battling the timeline, your own pressures that you put on there to meet timelines, but you're also now fighting all those voices and doubts. And when they all come together in these critical moments, it does make it a lot harder.

Through the whole creative journey, you tend to get elements of them bubbling up one at a time, maybe a couple. But as you get into these critical moments, they will kind of come together and it can be quite difficult.

I typically put a lot of pressure on myself to complete things as it is anyway, to have goals, try and meet deadlines , and work through all that. And when I miss them or the deadline passes, it does make me feel like I'm failing. The reality of it though, is the deadline was an arbitrary date that I put there to keep my focus,  keep my nose on the grindstone so that I kept working out.

I had a daily work goal, gave me something to keep me honest and to do the work that's required. And, yet then it kind of used it as a rod to beat myself with. It's kind of a strange dichotomy of two things there.  I guess your mind is a really funny beast to tame and sometimes the mechanisms or tricks you use to get you to do one thing actually become a negative later on in the process. Like now, the way that I keep my feet to the wheel, keep doing the writing, now makes me feel like I've failed. And I know I haven't failed.

The truth is, I've got all of this done in less than a year. The first book took, the better part of five years to go. So it's significant achievement that I've written now a bigger piece of work, probably in better quality for the first draft than the original book. And I've done that in six months. Not even six months at this point. So I should feel really good about that. And that's just what I'm coming around to, but right now I'm still trying to finish it.

So the only way around it is I just have to keep writing and I just have to keep going until it's done. Everything else has to wait. Editing has to wait. All these other things have to wait. I'll shuffle my dates. I'll shuffle my deadlines. I'll play with things when I need to. Right now, finish the manuscript. That's all I'm working on. That's what I need to do. And nothing else can really happen till I finish the first draft.

What's happening in the story? Well, I've been working through the main plot lines, the character journeys and bringing them to a close within the story. I've been talking about that in the last couple of episodes. They're really all coming together pretty well. Some of the smaller plot lines involving  secondary characters are all done. Some, a few just need a little bit of tidying up.

But everything is coming together. And then, little doubts are sitting there. Not much resistance, I wouldn't call it resistance. It's just the doubts now. And I recall in the final throes of book one, having concerns about how to bring it to a close, the ending of the book, was I covering everything off, and I'm in the exact same place now.

What's different this time is I have the experience of getting through it last time. What worked for me, what tools and techniques I used to get through it. Albeit that last time it took a lot longer to resolve all that because I was working out what I needed to do. Recognizing right now that the same thing is happening and knowing what I did last time in the end and how I got through it and what's required is great.

And fundamentally, I just have to keep writing, but having that experience is allowing me to keep writing. Still, I worry about the ending. Where the story is gone/going and whether I've written it well. That's natural, I think. You get these doubts in the creative process, but I do know that in the next stages I'll address all of that.

And that's  what I mean in that previous statement about, I know what I'm going to be doing. I know how I resolved these things last time. A lot of the things that I might be concerned about now get fixed in the editing stage anyway. So I don't need to worry about them. Just get on, get it finished.

And I do enjoy the editing process as well. It's a separate process. It is quite different to the core writing task when you're doing the first draft, which is just write, write, write, write, write. The editing is, reviewing, analyzing, working out what is, and isn't working within a scene or a beat or a full chapter and adjusting it to suit. The beauty of it though, is that, you know what you set that scene or chapter up to do.

The analysis portion of it says, is it working or not? And why not, if it's not? And then you just adjust it. And while it's writing, you don't necessarily write the whole thing again, sometimes you do, but you're adjusting things and you're manipulating it. And I do like that. It's less directly creative in the sense that you're just not flowing, but it's the polishing.

It's the crafting of the rough gem into a beautiful gem, and that I enjoy as much as the first draft pile. So I know everything will come together. I know that will happen. I'm happy with pretty much all of the characters and where they've got to in the story. I'm pretty happy with, what's been left, open, what's been closed.

I'm comfortable that each of those things is pretty well covered; subject to going into editing. There's a little part of my brain that wants to rush into outlining book three, because I'm already got threads that are flowing that way, that extend past this book or parts of the story that do. And so naturally now, as I get to the close, my brain is going, "Oh, and this and that, and this and that". And I just have to bring it back, focus on what I'm doing now and not get distracted with that. And this time I'm much better at it than I was last time.

I've recognized how much of the world and background has been exposed in little pieces through this book. And I think that's really good. Having had some conversations with people that have read book one and they have questions, "Oh, what about this? And what about that?"

Naturally, I've exposed some more of that in this story. So it's going to help a lot with that continuation, which I am glad that it's worked out that way. I didn't put too much in book one. I had enough, I think, that brought the world through in the way it needed to. And now, hey, there is questions that need answering. So, book two is answering a number of those.

It's all about winding up. Getting from drafting to editing, as I said before. So what comes next? Finishing this draft. I think from an estimate  there's, less than 10 chapters needed to resolve what I have to do, which should be approximately another week.

That's where I see it sitting right at the moment. Because of these delays, I'm not going to take a break at the end of it. I won't get time to sit and pat myself on the back. As soon as it's done, I'll be turning around, pulling out the spreadsheet for my story grid method and starting to go through it.

And that's what we'll follow on from this. My goal two weeks time, when the next podcast episode comes together, will be - first draft done, I'm now editing. And that's where I would like to be. That's what I'm working towards now. And hopefully you got a sense of the struggle, all the challenges I'm going through right now.

It is a challenging period. It's a frustrating period. Not in a negative negative way, it's just, part of it drives me, part of it is encouraging. Within two weeks, we should have that all wrapped up and done, and I should be into the editing cycle and I should be feeling a lot more positive about where I'm at.

It's not that I'm feeling totally negative. It's just the frustrations and those things sitting in the back of my mind. It would be good to get to that milestone and then move past them and get into the next phase, which will take a decent amount of time to get through the editing. So I'm looking forward to being in that place the next time we come together.

One Bite at a Time

Chapter Eleven  (Audio Only). [ 00:13:42 ]




Thanks for listening to this chapter of the In All Jest podcast. For the show notes and more about this podcast, visit kingdarryl.com/podcast. You can contact me through that site and find me on Twitter @ireckon. If you enjoy the show please tell others, share my posts and review it on your favorite podcast platform. Till next time.