I can’t account for it

One of the reasons I lost interest in running, I think, was because I was quantifying it too much. I would come home from work (back when I went elsewhere to work) and know I had to run at least four miles that evening if I was going to reach my target of thirty miles for the week. I wore a watch that talked to satellites and that tracked my pace and distance, and I could download this data when I got home to analyze my run, generally to feel disappointment in my performance. It got to be a chore, even an obligation, rather than something I did for exercise and esteem.

So now I find myself doing something similar with the writing of Omphalos. This thing continues to write itself. I have sat whole days at my computer, tapping away to get the story down as it reveals itself to me. I know where it’s going, and I know how to get there, but I still encounter surprises along the way. And the words just keep coming. At this rate, I’ll have the first draft done by the middle of June. I took ten years to write One-Match Fire, and Omphalos will be my second completed novel draft in 2020 alone. I can’t account for it, but then, I don’t want to. I want to ride the wave and be in the moment the way I failed to do when I was running.

I have kept one small quantifier in my journal about this. At the end of each week, I put down whatever word count I have achieved in the whole novel. And (unlike my running days) my pace has quickened. Here are some numbers:

02MAY – 4,600 words
11MAY – 16,660 words
18MAY – 25,000 words
25MAY – 38,900 words

I have two chapters left to write to complete the first draft, and I know I’ll easily exceed the 40,000 minimum for calling it a novel, though I’d be fine with it being a novella too. Ouroboros, for which Omphalos is a sequel, is at 47,600 words now. Both of those word counts will likely increase as I align better what happens in each work, putting in some foreshadowing and some back references and that kind of thing. I also have the wise thoughts of a trusted reader to use in Ouroboros (and then I’ll inflict Omphalos on him because I can).

I am in the moment with the writing of these works. And when I’m away, thoughts come to me about how to fix this or address that, and I want to get back to my keyboard to make the magic happen. It’s a good place to be and I don’t want to harm it by being too quantitative about it.

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One Comment on “I can’t account for it”


  1. It’s nice reading how the last two big things you’ve worked on seem to just be happening almost magically. And better: that there’s no method to it, other than just accepting that it’s a productive time and enjoying it.

    Like you, I find when I make something set up to be “productive,” I rarely have luck. I do one two-week writing challenge a year, now: Jami Attenberg’s 1000 Words of Summer, which is, “Write 1000 words a day for two weeks.” It’s enough to get a bit of a boost, but not so much writing that things seem to come apart for me.

    But generally, in all things I do, I just try making the big things habits…and enjoying the other things I like doing as they come along.

    I hope the words continue flowing for you!


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