It’s been about two weeks since I launched my mission to write, edit, and complete a new book within three months. In that short time, I’ve already learned a few important lessons – some positive, others not so much – but all of them worthwhile.
On the plus side:
- The outlining strategy I’m trying is working well. It’s a combination of concepts from K.M. Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development and Libbie Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better, Writing.
- I have to write less words than I thought. I’ve been judging my story length off standard novel averages, which means I planned on it being 80,000-100,000 words. Apparently though, e-book novels – which is what I’ll be writing – typically have a range closer to 40,000-50,000 words. That actually works perfect with how my outline planning has gone and should mean that I have wiggle room in my schedule.
- I’ve changed up my word count goal. This aligns a bit with the last bullet. Since my overall word count has been adjusted, my rough draft chapters are ranging anywhere from 1,500-2,500 words. Since this is so close to my original 2,000-words-per-day goal, I decided to simplify things and commit to completing a chapter each day. It’s more or less the same but seems soooo much more satisfying.
On the less positive side:
- A silly decision set me back a week. You see, I’ve had Story A floating through my brain for a few months but, for a number of reasons, I wanted to wait to write it. So I did a last-minute brainstorm and tried to launch this mission with Story B and then even Story C. When it became obvious that those stories were not lining up the way I wanted them to, I turned back to Story A. Ultimately, I’m glad I did this because the words haven’t stopped flowing since, but the mistake cost me a week of planning time before I was able to start writing.
- I’ve already burnt myself out trying to play catch up. When I started out that week behind with my right draft, I decided to write extra each day to make up time. While it did catch me up some, it also kept me from other tasks and led me to feel frazzled by the end of the week.
- It takes longer to accomplish my daily writing goal than I thought it would. I currently work on my books for a solid hour and a half every morning. When I was building my schedule, I thought 2,000 words into that window each day would be a breeze. Instead, I’ve had to complete it throughout the day. It’s been okay so far but when I start my next class for work that early morning writing time won’t be guaranteed so it’ll be interesting to see how my schedule is impacted.
- I’m still struggling to figure out how I’ll stay on track with everything. Again, this somewhat relates to the last bullet, but I realize that right now I’m just focusing on writing. Pretty soon I’ll have to be editing too. If I want to keep momentum up than it would be ideal to edit one story while I’m planning/writing my next book.
All that being said, I’m pretty happy with how things are going and I look forward to sharing some fun tidbits from this book soon!
If you’re a fellow writer, what fun lessons have you learned since starting your writing career?