Ground Effect in Writing
The definition of Ground Effect:
In fixed-wing aircraft, ground effect is the increased lift (force) and decreased aerodynamic drag that an aircraft’s wings generate when they are close to a fixed surface. When landing, ground effect can give the pilot the feeling that the aircraft is “floating.”
M.L. Buchman once said that when the writing is steady and going at a good pace, pulp speed pace, it feels so, so easy, as if there is a ground effect under the words being produced.
Wow, did he have that right. I felt this a few times last year, once in July, another in the fall during a month where I wrote over 100,000 words of fiction. Once I got up and writing regularly, it just felt easy.
And the feeling then is “Why can’t I do this all the time. It’s so easy.”
But alas, things in the world force the old metaphoric writing plane back onto the runway and back on the bumps and fits and starts and so on.
I know, a strange metaphor, but ground effect is what it feels like completely.
Writing in ground effect is FUN!
So last year, when I realized both times I was in ground effect writing, I worked to memorize the feeling. And how I got started, how I got the wheels off the ground. Now, I forget a lot of things, but I still vividly remember what writing in ground effect felt like.
So tomorrow is the first of June. There are steps I am going to take to get to ground effect writing once again and hold it longer.
Step 1…Look Ahead at the Schedule.
I have a few days in June that I will be away from the writing, which I have planned and am looking forward to, but that will make no difference. So schedule for June, July, and August is pretty clear.
I will still be working my regular day job at WMG, but past that, nothing major. I will go back to detailing out the time here so those of you with day jobs will see how this can be done even working a full-time job.
Step 2… Plan the Startup.
For me, starting is always easier with a set minimum word count daily. Sort of how I wrote that novel in seven days.
So I am going to start with 3,000 words a day and just maintain that as much as possible through the first couple of weeks. I will miss a few days, but with that as a focus, eventually it gets easier and easier.
Step 3… Set a Goal State of Word Count
My goal is to be feeling the ease and fun of ground effect writing. For me, that’s averaging around 4,000 words or more a day in fiction. I hope to be to that feeling by the middle of June.
That’s not much of a jump from the starting number, but that extra thousand words is a difference in focus for me. A focus that I need to maintain all day, meaning even when at WMG I know I need to give the writing so much time each night.
4,000 words a day is way over 100,000 words of fiction a month. Pulp Speed One, for those of you who remember that post, is 80,000 words per month. Pulp Speed Two is over 100,000 words a month. Pulp Speed Three is 120,000 words per month.
I hit ground effect writing between Pulp Speed Two and Three.
Step 4… Set Production Goals of Projects
My plan is to finish the novel I am working on, then finish a second novel in June. In July I am going to go after Stories From July (Take Two) where I want to write 31 short stories in 31 days and put them all together with the blogs. The first Stories from July is out now in both electronic and paper editions, all 32 stories and blogs.
I have a hunch that as I get up to ground effect in the middle of the month, I’ll be starting on a third novel before I fire on the short stories in July.
In August I plan on keeping the speed from the short fiction and take it into two more novels, more than likely jumping from stories I come up with in July. But we shall see on that.
Math on all this is easy. At 100,000 words per month minimum, that’s two of my 50,000 word novels per month or 31 short stories averaging over 3,000 words. Last year the stories averaged just under 4,000 words each, some shorter, some longer.
Step 5… Be Very Clear-Eyed in Your Plans
Now, those of you who have watched this over the last three years know that what I am proposing I can do. I’ve done it all before.
Now the key on this stretch is can I do it over a three month plus period? That’s my challenge.
And can I challenge all the fates and get through July once again without some life roll kicking it aside. No telling.
So if you are planning some writing through this time of great forgetting, be clear-eyed. Know what you can do, yet push yourself to new limits.
Challenge is important.
Remember, failing to success is always fine. Say I finish three novels and only 28 short stories in the three months. That would be failing to hit the goal, but clearly success by any measure.
I hope you will follow along here and maybe set some summer goals of your own. But follow the five steps above. It helps keep everything in perspective.
Here we go. One thing for sure, it will be fun.