Result #10: Remember when I successfully completed writing my first novel by my 38th birthday?

#10 Complete my first novel by my 38th birthday.

Date: 1-10-2014

Due Date: 2-28-2014

Back story: Back in November I start to write a novel for NaNoWriMo. This novel is something that I had in my head for a while and is basically an adaptation of five of my screenplay rolled into one story with a sixth story that pops up between each script that ties everything together. I had four of the five scripts already written so for the most part it's a matter of adapting screenplays into standard prose.

Right before I left for San Diego to visit the family I was about halfway done with the fourth story, the only section of the novel that still needed the screenplay to make the adaptation. Between being away from my work space and this being the most complex portion of the story I decided to just wait until I got home to wrap everything up.

Resolution: Now that I'm home my plan is to finish the first draft by my birthday. I'm glad that it is working out the way that it is because now that I've completed my resolution to rearrange my apartment I have nice cozy workspace. Also since I've spent all day writing these resolution for the website I'm back in full on writing mode!!!

Loophole: I'm actually a leap year baby so I have quite a while until I reach my 38th birthday if I need to play that card.

Update #1:

Date: 1-17-2014

Due to all the technical issues I was having while home visiting the family I have to create a new copy of the novel to work off of 1) for safety and 2) my mom did not have Word so everything lost its formatting when I opened it in Open Office, I had no idea that would be an issue but here we are.

Current Word Count: 112,280

Current Page Count: 558

Update #2:

Date: 1-17-2014

After a long day completing my goal of setting up this website to the point where I am satisfied, attending my first class at virtual Harvard, drinking water, and attempting to promote the website my mind was all over the place. I wanted to take a nap but I could stop thinking about whether or not people are interested in what I'm up to, whether or not this is worth it, forgetting that this project is not about the audience. The audience is just a way of justifying this life style of trying to create even though I can barely pay the rent.

I'm fine with the struggle, I'm going to do what I'm going to do either way, but for whatever reason that doubt guy that lives in my head keeps messing with me. I shut him up then move on to the next step to a project, then there he is in that down time. "That post was stupid. I wonder if people are annoyed by all these posts, I wonder how many people are hiding you right now." Then I shut him up and get back to work. Why would I be worried about the people who are annoyed it's just a matter it's just a matter of scrolling two inches and for that person where I'm sure there's a picture of a can or someones lunch, that must either infuriate them or is the reason they are on social media.

When I think rationally I get over it quickly but my mind races a lot. That's why I can't write my novel during the day time. This afternoon I feared that I wouldn't be able to get out of my head to write tonight so I forced myself to lay down. I have one of those sound machines for my phone that blast weird tones that the sound waves are supposed to do everything from getting you to stop smoking to feeling like you are on LSD. I don't use this app for any of these magical affects but if blast any constant noise into your ears for about a half hour you'll be to busy thinking, "What the fuck am I doing this for again," to allow any of your self doubts to creep in.

Whether or not it was the magical power of the sound wave once my mind settled I did start to think about my story as a way to block the annoying noises that were penetrating my ears and now I'm ready to get to work. I'll be back in a while to let you know how this writing session turns out.

Update #3:

Date: 1-18-2014

Just before I started to write I decided to track down my soundtrack for the evening. That's when I found this...

My favorite book about writing. I've read it in the past and was excited to give it a listen as I worked on my own story. I know exactly where I want to go with the story, but I haven't actually worked on it in a couple weeks and it turns out that I needed to refresh my memory of what these characters of mine were up to when I last hung out with them.

I could have forced myself to just move forward, they'll remind me, it's like hanging out with old friend that you haven't seen a while. Quiet and awkward at first, but all it takes is one sentence and it's as if your last conversation never ended.

Rather than waist time with small talk I decide print up the section that I'm currently working on and give it a read to take out all the guess work.

I miss these guys and can't wait to get back our conversation.

I still have about ten pages to read until I get caught up, but we will be playing again very soon.

Update #4:

Date: 1-20-2014

Alright time to get back to work.

I regret that I've taken this break from writing my novel. Up until my trip to San Diego I was writing at least 2000 word a day. I didn't taking a single day off from when I started, somewhere around November 9th, up to my flight on December 23rd.

I'm not really complaining because it was a great trip. Even though I'm far away, I feel closer to my family than I have in a long time and if it wasn't for the visit I wouldn't be doing this whole 365 Days of Resolution thing.

I've just been having a hard time ramping back up to speed and finding time to write, but I don't feel too bad. I knew this would be the case. I knew as soon as I got home I would get so caught up in creating content for the 365 project, wrapping up my Southland Tales experiment, and catching up with my friends.

I just finished writing this weeks Southland Tales review which turned out to be pretty epic and am in the process of cooking up ten pounds of chicken that I got from the food bank (I don't trust my ability to store frozen meat without letting it go bad.)

I'm not good at planning my meals so I figure I can grab bits and pieces of a refrigerated, cooked pile of meat when needed rather than storing this huge bag of chicken in the freezer and being to overwhelmed about when and how much chicken I need to thaw out and how long that'll take. (This poor planning is why I'm confident that I'll be able to accomplish any eating resolution. if I don't have to think about it I can stick to a plan.)

Ah the joys of neurotic.

What does this have to do with an update to my novel you ask? Absolutely nothing.

It just happens to be what is going on right now as take this break to write this update to switch gears from working on my other projects to hunkering down to read the twenty pages that I need to read to refresh my memory of what my characters have been up to so that tonight I'll finally get to focus on their needs.

I'll let you know how that turns out.

Update #5:

Date: 1-21-2014

I'm all caught up on the reading and the chicken is cook. I'm going to bed. I can't feel bad for not writing because I spent all day writing other project, but I now have no excuse why I won't be able to focus on this project starting tomorrow tomorrow.

Update #6

Date: 1-22-14

Last night I finally fit in a real writing session. I only wrote about 1000 words but more importantly I'm back into the world of the story. I think I've been hesitating putting in the real work because at one time I was so immersed in the world of the story that I didn't have to know where the story was going. I had the confidence that the characters would let me know what they have to do.

By taking that small break I had anxiety that I would be returning to work just to finish the draft. Being that this is the only section of the novel that's not an adaptation of my own prior work I feared rushing to get to the end might destroy the rest of the novel.

That's why I was fine with taking the time to reread the parts I needed to and let thing fester so I can try and ease back into this world. I know most people would probably use a more flowery word than fester to describe their ponderings, especial someone who talks about hanging out with his characters and letting the story organically lead the way. 

When I get writers block I feel like I'm letting down everyone in the story's world. When I do return I feel as if I have to win these characters back. Some get over it right away, other are excited because with everyone giving me the cold shoulder they finally get a little attention and some never get over, spending the rest of the story bitterly living out a life that's not the one promised to them at the beginning of the tale, back when I also had a clear purpose for their existence.

Luckily I wasn't away too long and everyone seems to be getting along again.

I can't wait for tonight's writing session!!!

(PS. If you know me in the real world this may sound familiar? I have the same issue when the distance of time grows between me and the people I care about.)

The Conclusion:

Date: 2-11-2014

Doug A Life cover copy.jpg

Last night at about 4:30 in the am I wrote the final words to my first novel!

I've been writing screenplay for years and this is my first attempt at branching out into a new medium.

Doug: A Life, is a novel that is made up five of my feature length screenplays that I felt had very strong connections to one another and follows the life of Doug Hister, an agoraphobic astronaut with mental problems.

We start out in Doug's head, when he is already an astronaut, and follow him as he tries to work through his issues. We then explore the rest of Doug's life through his visits to a psychiatrist to find out what makes him tick.

We explore every aspect of Doug's life from is upbringing to his dreams , his successes and his failures, his hopes and his fears, as he tries to find his place on this planet.

The five screenplays that make up this novel are, Chuck Norris Would Never Write This Script, E.S.T. Electric Shock Therapy, And Then Something Happened, E.S.T. Eternal Soul Transfer, and Memoirs of a Moron by Marty Hister.

End counts: Words: 142,243  Pages: 655

I plan to take a little break before working on the second draft. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Until then, I consider this resolution to be a Success!!!

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.