I am MacGyver with insufficient hair to cultivate a mullet, and with no plan.
This post went off course waaaaaay faster than I expected.
Plans are good. They give things a bit of structure. Goals to aim for. Self-imposed deadlines to either meet or to constantly shuffle around and feel guilty about not meeting as though you’re actually going to call yourself into your own office and give yourself a stern dressing down.
That sort of thing.
I have had many plans in what passes for my writing career. All of them have been absolutely awesome, even when they didn’t work. They gave me a sense of direction, and stopped me feeling as though I’m just twiddling my thumbs and passing the time before I die.
They stop me getting distracted about what sort of world it would be if MacGyver had no hair and no plan, then daydreaming about the sort of movie where “No hair. No plan.” would be an appropriate tag line.
All right. It doesn’t stop me doing that. Plans aren’t magic bald-Macgyver-bullets. They’re useful though, especially if you’re me. And I am. So they are.
My last plan ended in 2014, and though it wasn’t exactly successful it did make some things happen. It was a very practically-minded sort of plan, a personal experiment in treating writing like a business and seeing what happened. What actually happened was the worst year of book and story sales I’ve had in the last decade, but you know, you can’t have everything. It was worth a go, and I learned things from it. Not things I wanted to learn, but reality just actually sucks sometimes. Hey ho.
Now it is time for a new plan. Having played around with trying to be one of those writers who strategise their way to success, and found it a more dispiriting and longer term approach than I’m willing to waste more time on, I will now shift gears a bit and tell a story instead.
It’s quite a big story. I’ll be honest, I only have the edges of it just now. It requires a fair bit of research, this story. For the next two and a half months, I’ll mostly be reading and watching stuff, and maybe even visiting things. Developing ideas, probably. Which is just daydreaming by any other name. Cool. At the same time, I’ll be clearing the decks of everything else I’m working on. It either gets done by Christmas, or it doesn’t get done. In real terms, that effort will mostly be concentrated on the final Lomax / MacDonald novella.
Whether any of the new stuff gets published, ever, is beside the point, and something I’m not going to trouble myself thinking on further until 2017 or 2018. I hereby declare 2016 a writing year, and nothing else.
What is the new plan? Not saying, except that I’ve wanted to do something huge for ages, something that takes my love of massive sagas and shared universes and puts them to good use. I’ve been put off pursuing this for fear of not being able to sell the work, and seeing the work go to waste. That matters to me less than it did before. Apart from anything else, if I don’t start sometime soon I’ll be dead, and it won’t have happened, and while I won’t exactly be sad because I’ll be dead, it will nevertheless be an unsatisfactory state of affairs.
And that’s all I’m going to say just now, but I’ll be coming back to this later. One I’ve got things outlined I’ll be inviting you take a peek and see what you think.
For now, onwards to research!.
Currently reading (non-fiction): The Victorians by A.N. Wilson
Currently reading (novel): Period Street Station by China Mieville
Currently reading (short stories): Iris: Fifteen, edited by Stuart Douglas