I was fortunate enough to meet a published author through a writing group last week. She had a few words of wisdom that really stuck with me:
Just get through your first novel. It might be good, it might be bad, but the experience of completing it will push you forward and you will only improve.
She was right, I had already abandoned my first novel. A completed an outline, some chapters, then I got really stuck and put it on hold. The research involved for this book is more than I have time for right now. So I started another one, this one has been easier, but not without its challenges.
All of us in the writing group needed to hear her tell us to finish our projects. I asked her what her words per day goal was, and she said she averages 3,000 words per day. Quickly counting up the words I had, it was 3,567, and it had taken me a week to write that. Time is not on my side, being a stay home mom with little time to write; but it’s more than that too. I tend to want to stop after a scene is completed. It just feels like a good stopping point.
I decided to push myself and wrote 3,000 words in one day. I was up until 11pm, but I did it. I haven’t read back over it yet, hopefully half of it isn’t garbage. It felt good to lay down so much in one setting, though it can be hard to avoid too much dialogue or lollygagging around the point. My new goal is to try for 3,000 words whenever I have a chance to sit down and write, which is not every day unfortunately.
Setting goals will hopefully propel me forward. I would like to have a rough draft completed by the end of the summer, which is about 3 months. A friend told me that the rough draft is only 1/6 of the completed process. That was a bit deflating and terrifying. I might be crazy, but I want my first novel to be — at least good.