Sunday, April 10, 2011

Book in a Month: Conclusion

     At last! I'm so sorry I've been so late in getting my final thoughts regarding Book-In-A Month to you. To say things have been hectic would be a major understatement! Between deadlines at work and other crazy life events, it's been difficult to find the time to post. So without further fan fare, I've broken down my final two weeks using BIAM below.

Week 3
This was probably my most challenging week out of the whole experience. As you all know by now, I started my first week on the method while I was on vacation and was able to dedicate a lot of time to writing. Unfortunately, the following week I had to go back to work and time became a real commodity for me. I tried to write as much as I could during my breaks and kept (and continue to keep) my journal handy for documenting random moments of insight or inspiration. The evenings and weekends became my only real opportunity to write.  So that being said my productivity did slip during that second week and I was hoping to recoup some losses during my third week.
I was on a role for a few days. I was staying up quite late to write and flesh out scenes. Unfortunately a weekend trip loomed near, and I was naive enough to believe that despite having to travel and attend a conference I would be able to still make my weekly goal. That was so not the case (Note to self: If you have a personal deadline you want to complete don't schedule a trip half-way through). In the span of three days (Friday-Sunday) I was only able to get eight pages of writing completed.  I was way behind in finishing my second act and nowhere close to finished. I had to console myself with the fact that something was better than nothing but it was a huge mental blow for me. In total I was only able to produce twenty-one pages of work for week three. I woke the day after returning determined to get as much writing in as possible and still hopeful that I'd be able to finish BIAM somewhat sane...

Week 4
As you can imagine I was eager to put the pedal to the metal (ha! I've always wanted to say that) for my final week on BIAM, but I had more than a few obstacles standing in my way. Time of course has become a major mortal foe of mine—the bastard is ever elusive. However, I also had to contend with the fact that I hadn't completed my second act as well. The whole point of m even starting BIAM was so that I could actually complete a working first draft of my book in a month. I knew I wouldn't be able to complete both my second and third acts in a week. I just didn't have enough time! I made a quick judgment call that Monday evening and decided to just copy the remainder of my outline for Act II into my manuscript and spend the rest of the week working on Act III. I inserted a few notes with the outline and a few pieces of dialogue I wanted in my second act, but aside from that I let it be and moved on.
     Choosing to move on was the right decision for me, but it might not work for everyone. My main focus was on giving my story and characters a proper ending. Don't get me wrong, I'm obsessive by nature, but BIAM has taught me to gauge my time and stretch towards completeness. That being said, I was only able to complete thirty-six pages. By the end of week four I was only halfway through with my final act so I did the same thing I did with my second act—I inserted the remaining outline in for those scenes. 

Final Thoughts
     My final tally for my BIAM experience is listed blow: 
Weekly Goal
Weekly Achievements
Act I
12,500 words/50 pages
13,250 words/ 53 pages
Act II
12,500 words/50 pages
7,500 words / 30 pages
Act II
12,500 words/50 pages
5,250 words/ 21 pages
12,500 words/50 pages
9,000 words/ 36 pages
50,000 words/ 200 pages
35000 words/ 140 pages

If you had asked me at the beginning of all this, if I would be disappointed if I didn't reach my final goals, my answer would have been an unequivocal yes. I don't like doing things half way and I don't like failure. Thankfully after my experience with BIAM, my head is no longer in the sky (or up my bum), and I can say no—I’m not disappointed at all. I am insanely proud of the work I got done in those four weeks. I got 140 pages out of my head and onto paper—one hundred forty pages! How can I not be proud of that? I'm finally doing what I love and my life is better for it. 
Although I wasn’t able to reach my writing goals I was able to, in a way, finish my first draft. I took a bit of a breather from writing this last week. My brain needed some time to come off the high speed rail it was on for those four weeks, but I’m starting again with a vengeance today and plan on completing the end of my second and third acts and then going back to revise the whole thing. I know that by the time I’m done I will have at last written an additional 140 pages and that just makes m all kinds of giddy (yeah I said giddy).
Despite all my gripes at the beginning of this process, an outline really did help keep me grounded and focused, but outlines aren’t the core of BIAM. At least they weren’t for me. The major lesson I’ve taken away from the method is to stop being so concerned with getting down the perfect phrase or sentence and focus on just getting the thought or general idea out on paper. Perfection can wait for your revisions. I’m sure the creators and followers of the method may be shaking their heads in disagreement at me, but who cares? I will still credit the method to helping me focus and get closer to my goals. Well then, it’s time I stop reminiscing and get back to work!

Talk to you soon,

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