The Great Christmas Write-a-thon

Well, I’ve arrived safely at my parents’ place on Georgian Bay for an extended two-week Christmas break (the longest extended period off I’ve had, I realized, since I finished my Masters degree in late 2002–yikes!)

And lest you think I plan merely to watch Spike TV’s Star Trek: Voyager and James Bond marathons and drink eggnog until nutmeg oozes from my pores (which is a sorely tempting option for these two weeks, mind you) I plan instead the First Annual Great Christmas Write-a-thon.

As you may know (or more likely not know, and possibly not care) I tend to do much of my writing during lunch hours Monday through Friday. We don’t have a lunch room at the Press, so people just disappear behind closed office doors for an hour or so each day. Rob Sawyer’s advice once upon a time that I use that lunch hour to do something more productive than surf Wikipedia made a lot of sense. So I tend to reread what I wrote the day before, maybe edit a bit, and then bang out the new stuff.

Having done this going on four years now, I’ve got what creative muscles I possess prepared for an all-out one-hour sprint each weekday. I can pretty reliably get 500 words or so in an hour if I know where I’m headed (which isn’t always).

So given that I have two weeks off (and that there ain’t a lot doin’ up here) I’ve decided that I’ll set the bar a bit higher over my Christmas holidays. I’m thinking that I’ll try for 1000 words a day for the next fourteen days and really get some stuff done. Given that my short stories tend to average between 5000 and 7500 words, I could get almost three stories completed.

However, I’m hopeful I might get more than that done.

The first project I’ll be finishing up will be a story called ‘Shipbreaker’, for which I already have about 2500 words done. Then, I will be revising for submission a story called ‘Gagiid’ (of which I’m actually exceptionally proud–partly because it’s the first story of mine that involves no dialog whatsoever). After that, I’d like to work on another partly-written story (1300 words) tentatively called ‘Wordhord’, inspired by my friend and former roommate Patrick, one of the world’s future foremost Anglo-Saxonists.

I’d like to have ‘Shipbreaker’ done not later than Saturday 23 December. ‘Gagiid’ will likely not take longer than one day to revise, so that’s Sunday 24 December (Christmas Eve!) I can start in on ‘Wordhord’ on Christmas Day and have it done not later than Saturday 30 December. That’s assuming that each story ends up being around 7500 words. They may not, meaning I could get them done and start in on a third new story before heading back to Toronto for New Year’s.

We’ll see. I’ll try and post each day’s word count. Wish me luck!

– S.

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