How Fans (And Critique Groups) Can Make You Write Faster
One of my big problems in getting anything significant done in writing is procrastination. When the "creative bug" comes, it comes hard--when I was in St. Thomas, for example, I wrote 2,000-ish words for a scene in a later Wastelands book in half an hour to an hour--but a lot of the time, it's just not there and writing becomes a chore. And often when the "creative bug" comes, it's a different idea from my main project.
That's why I've got so many unfinished novels but only one complete (original) one.
However, when I wrote my two Harry Potter fan-fic pieces The Wrath of the Half-Blood Prince and Lord of the Werewolves, one of the things that kept me churning out the chapters (to the point I finished the nearly 200,000 word Wrath in just under a year) was that I had a lot of readers who were eager to see the next chapter. This kept me focused and gave me deadlines--I had a whole lot of people to please.
I applied this lesson to my original fiction. Instead of my pack of online fans, however, I had my two writing groups, one in Kennesaw and the other in Lawrenceville. This got me producing, in some cases submitting them in multi-chapter batches. In the Lawrenceville group, you have to commit before you submit, so many times I committed to having something to critique in order to force myself to get it done. As a result, I ultimately finished Battle for the Wastelands and got the much-shorter novella "Son of Grendel" finished within a few weeks. Possibly less than two months even.
This means this weekend is going to be a busy one. I've committed to having something turned in for critique on July 8 this Sunday (July 1). At minimum, it would need to be the first chapter of Escape from the Wastelands, but I've got more of the second chapter written. And I've got work and social obligations too. But I'll be moving along on the book. God willing, if I get an offer for Battle after this year's DragonCon, they might want the second book pretty quickly, and churning out chapters like I do will make that easier.
I just found out that Wrath is listed here, in the "Fan Fic" section of the TVTrope page "For Want of a Nail." I'm a happy camper.