Week 4 Check-In

Okay so technically last week was Week 4 of the book-writing challenge I’ve given myself. But hey, this is close enough, right? Either way, I’m very happy to say that I finished the first draft of my next book yesterday morning. Yay! It took about 3 weeks total, once I got writing.

As with my last check-in, there are a few lessons I’ve learned with this part of my challenge:

  • I absolutely loved focusing all my energy on writing as opposed to writing and editing at the same time. That was what made the short writing time possible and I have a great sense of accomplishment just from getting that piece done.
  • The chapter-a-day goal I gave myself was just about perfect. Yes, it was challenging at times, but that daily goal ensured that I powered through my writing rather than getting hung up on small details that would normally slow it down.
  • Having such a focused attack ultimately made my first draft stronger. With longer writing windows I think it’s easier to get distracted and lose the tone, atmosphere, or character voices you’re building throughout your story.

Now what will be interesting is the next step in this process. Writers are all a little different. I know some authors who can write their first draft, do minimal editing, and be done. For me, I fully expect that the editing piece will take twice as long as writing the first draft. Mostly because that’s where I get finicky about word choice, sentence structure, etc.

The challenge, if you want to call it that, will be figuring out a good per-day goal for editing that will keep me on track the same way my first draft goal did. 

Only one idea has come to mind so far – a goal by chapter and type of editing. I break my editing into two categories. Story editing is my opportunity to improve upon the story itself (plot points, making various scenes more impactful, etc.). Basic editing is where I add in the finer details (scenery descriptions, chars details, etc.). So maybe my goal can be to do the story editing for Chapter 1 on one day, for example, basic editing for Chapter 1 the next, and so on.

Might as well give it a try. Realistically I may not even start that until next week because I have to compile the list of by-chapter story edits that still need to be made.

Guess we’ll see if it works! If you are a fellow writer, what do you do to keep yourself on track while editing?

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