The need for speed

In which our heroine commits to a deadline

The whole start-writing-at-40 is my version of a mid-life crisis, I guess. You do get this dawning realisation as you get older that life is actually short, even if you’re lucky enough to have a long one. If you live to 75, that’s 28,000 days. Life is limited and time must be respected. If you want to freak yourself out about how little time you have, see it visualised as weeks.

It’s taken me about 5 years fairly consistent work to get my book into submittable form. There were some periods of weeks where nothing much happened but I was usually stuck on process and needed to research methods to move on. I’m past the half-way mark! I simply do not have enough life left to spend that time on each project. I must get faster.

One of the big breakthroughs in completing my edit was hearing someone at Genrecon say that 90,000 words is only 1,000 words a day for three months. That little statistic made what seemed like an insurmountable task much more manageable. I knew I could work faster than that on the edit once I had the structural issues solved. All of sudden it was do-able.

Just as I was finishing up the last text corrections, I saw writer Charlotte Nash tweet an offer of a free copy of her book How to Edit a Novel, which I’ve reviewed this week. Charlotte manages a 90,000 words draft in 9 weeks, even with a young baby, and she does it by being organised.

So, I’m setting myself a challenge. I’m going to try to finish a draft of my new project by my birthday in October. That gives me 30 weeks + a few to nut out the key elements (main character’s name, for example). That’s about 3,000 words a week, which should be easily do-able if I’m disciplined.  I’ll let you know how I go.


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