December 15, 2015 by Gregory Josephs
100,000 Words and a Lofty Goal
Well, this is a first. I’m getting my Tuesday process post in just under the wire tonight. My work schedule changed this week on account of an annual facility maintenance shutdown, and I’m enjoying my afternoons and evenings at home. My writing schedule is shot to hell though. I don’t mind. I said before Thanksgiving this was probably going to happen. Truthfully its nice to have this forced break. Its allowing me to focus on Christmas and prepare for the new year.
I’ve got quite a lofty goal for the new year, actually.
Last Friday when my husband came home from work I had a surprise in store. Through months of rewriting and the last few weeks of new writing I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping this work in balance with the rest of my life. But certain things have definitely fallen to the wayside. For instance, I’m really passionate about cooking, and apart from the 12 pounds of cheese I’ve produced this fall, that passion has been sorely neglected. So Friday I felt like taking a spin in the kitchen. It had been far too long and we had cause to celebrate—
Not only had I put down what are likely the last words of TEORG in 2015, I also reached a previously unfathomable milestone.
The manuscript passed the 100,000 word mark!
Things are going really well. I finished Chapter Sixteen and I’m ready to wrap up Metamorphosis with Chapter Seventeen in the first week of January. I am amazed at how freely the words have been pouring out of me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Some of them have been hard-won, but I’ve got this awesome new resolve. I can push through the tough bits and then the deluge resumes. I’m not saying all of it is great. Everything beyond the recently posted Chapter Thirteen is presently a rough rough draft, but its progress nonetheless.
But back to the kitchen—
In September, right around the time I started making cheese (and revisiting TEORG) in earnest, I decided to try my hand at fermenting cabbage. I’ve always loved sauerkraut, and we happened to have a nice head in the crisper—
It was easy to do and the results were delicious. The recipe said to use it within a month, but really how many reuben sandwiches could we eat? So it sat in its fermenting jar getting more and more sauer until Friday, when a memory of a now defunct Harvard Square restaurant called Sandrine’s sparked my imagination. I flew out of the house to the spice store for some juniper berries, then hit up the butcher for several types of sausage and a couple bottles of riesling. A few hours later we sat down to Choucroute Garnie a la Sandrine’s—a classic Alsatian dish of sausages baked with sauerkraut drowned in wine and spices.
It might actually have been the best meal I’ve eaten all year.
I’m not sure if it was the incredible food, the second bottle of riesling, the ever-supportive husband, or the overwhelming sense of accomplishment for making it this far with the project. Maybe it was a combination of everything, but I got this sort of crazy idea in my head.
Leading up to last Friday I wrote about 20,000 words in eleven days. Apart from the holidays what else would dare stop my momentum? What could possibly hold me up come January?
So here’s the goal. The first complete draft of TEORG will be finished on or before January 25, 2016. The day has some significance, but perhaps I’ll save that for a later post.
In all I expect the manuscript to be between 140,000 and 150,000 words. Given the last few weeks, meeting this goal seems entirely possible. Beginning January 1 thats a paltry 2,000 words a day. There’s no reason I can’t do it. And I know, dear reader, you’ll be there with me, and that’ll just serve to embolden me further.
So the date is set. January 25, come hell or high water. The end is in sight.
I don’t think I’ll cook that day though. That’ll be a day for champagne and some other classic French cookery from a real French chef in a swanky bistro. Maybe I’ll make reservations preemptively knowing how disappointed I’ll be if I have to cancel them for not meeting my self-imposed deadline.
In any case, this is it from me in 2015. Chapter Fourteen will post on Friday to close out the year, and the next you’ll hear from me will be Chapter Fifteen on New Year’s Day. Thank you for an outstanding autumn full of love and support for this crazy dream I have of being a writer. I have this sneaky feeling that in 2016 its not going to be a ‘dream’ anymore.