Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hashtag: Writing Goals

Five-and-a-half years ago, I was in Afghanistan. The base I was stationed at was divided into sections, and my unit was housed in a small rectangular yard. The space was enclosed with chain-link fencing, which was covered in fibrous green, tarp-like material. There was an opening near the street to allow access to the yard.

In the back of this rectangular, gravel-filled space we called home, the wall of green was interrupted by an incongruously wooded door.

I don’t know how long I’d been there before I took note of it. It suddenly struck me as strange one day, that on a base full of gray and tan metal, rock, and dirt, there should be a wooden door that someone had taken the trouble to paint red. The door was pretty weathered; the paint was peeling and faded to almost rust-colored. It sat in a metal frame with pieces of metal adorning or reinforcing it, presumably meant to allow movement from one section to another, but the door was locked.

I made a charcoal drawing of it.

Naturally, it caught my imagination. Why had the door been placed there? Why was it locked? What was on the other side? Why was it painted?

I wondered about it for several days before my curiosity intensified to the point that I casually strolled down the adjacent street, hoping to catch a glimpse into the yard behind ours. Alas, it was not to be. The same green-covered fencing that surrounded our yard enclosed it, with doors at the entrance that I never saw left open.

I’ll never know what was behind that door, but the idea of it stayed with me. I’ve made several attempts to write a story centered around the mysterious portal,* never getting very far. But a few months ago, I took a new approach, starting from a prologue I wrote a couple years ago, that finally feels right. I’ve since made progress, but it’s been slow, so last weekend I decided I needed to make some goals to precipitate a concerted effort.

Starting now, I want to write a chapter every day that I don’t have editorial work, and three chapters every weekend, for a total of five chapters each week. This will allow me to finish the book in time to give it an editing pass before sending it out into the world,** while accounting for the fact that I will sometimes write a chapter that needs to be scrapped.

All of this will be in addition to work, editing, blogging, and writing poetry and drama as near to daily as I can, so... It’s going to be a busy fall. But this is a project I’m finally ready to finish, so I’d appreciate your prayers as I press on with the work.

Thanks for reading. :)

*Including a rather disastrous NaNoWriMo draft.

**My end goal is to send it to an agent by January 1st, 2018.

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