Writing Without Pants

It was late December just after Christmas.  My partner, Gentoku, asked me, “When do you think your book will be finished?”

A harmless inquiry.  I thought about it for three entire seconds and hastily replied that I could finish it in a year.  Completing 2-3 pages a day was realistic if I write each day (which I don’t).

“So your book will be finished in January 2014?” he said.  Wait a minute, am I committing to this?  I started to demure.  He’s a personal trainer, so setting and meeting goals are his strengths.  “Say it out loud,” he said, “say that your book will be finished by January 2014.”

I said it out loud, and suddenly it felt so tangible.  My book’s future became less cloudy, and I envisioned it in it’s complete form.

I could have backed out, but when it comes to writing, I hate being a sissy.  I like to see what I’m made of.  And for Christ’s sake, this beast is six years old.  Enough already.

So here it is, the Writing Without Pants Challenge, my calendar to the end.  I set deadlines every three weeks or so to complete chapters of my book.  When I say complete, I don’t mean that I’m tooling around with the chapters I’ve already written.  The chapters are finished.

The title is from Hamlet 2 with Steve Coogan.  There is a scene, where he’s sitting in his home office trying to write the script to his musical, and and he’s doing everything but writing.

This is the writing process.  Sure, there are moments when the ideas are flowing.  Then there are the moments when you stare into space, talk to your cat, or wander around without pants.  The latter moments are vastly disproportionate to the former.  Vastly.

Here are the rules:

  1. If I miss a deadline, I have to give up four books.  To give you an idea of how many books I own, I’ll post pictures of my bookshelves on my About page shortly.
  2. For every blog post I write, that number is reduced by one.  So if I don’t meet a deadline but I write a blog post, then I only have to give up three books.

I am a shameless bibliophile.  Like-minded bibliophiles understand that being in the presence of a great number of books is extremely comforting.  I also keep books that taught me something about writing.  If I don’t meet my deadlines, then I will have to make sacrifices.

My first deadline is Friday, February 1st.  I will have to finish the first chapter and sub chapter.  The longer chapters are the main story line, and the sub chapters are shorter and fill in the back-story.

This is an easy deadline.  I set it, because I knew I could make it.  The other deadlines may be a different story.  The next twelve months will be filled with blood, sweat, and tears.  But I feel no greater joy, because I know I am fulfilling my purpose.

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