Today is the first day of the rest of my life. How about that? Well, more accurately, and less clichéd, today is the first day after finals, which means that today is the first day I get to sit down and treat writing my novel like it is work.
As I write this, my manuscript sits at 22,157 words. My goal is 85-100k by the end of June.
Keeping My Eye on the Finish Line
When I got home from work yesterday, I took the calendar off our kitchen wall and hung it next to my desk. I grabbed the orange Sharpie I usually label DVDs and CDs with and wrote “2k” on every day Monday-Friday between April 27 and June 30 (except for June 3-13 when we will be in Florida for Slayage). At the end of every week, I also have an approximated word count goal to help keep me on schedule (for instance, this week has 28k under Friday, April 30).
Each day when I reach my goal, I am going to take a blue sharpie and X those 2k words off my calendar and update it with my actual word count. Doing so should give me a visual cue of where I need to be this summer if I want to reach my writing goals.
If I get ahead, great. If not, then I have something to shoot for and keep me in line.
If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I am a slave to lists, schedules, and routines.
And if I am still writing on this novel on June 30th, I will reach 100k words. Which is too long for a debut author, even if I am writing science fiction. According to Collen Lindsay at The Swivet, newbie authors trying to get an agent/editor should “err on the side of caution” when considering our manuscript’s word count. I take that to mean that if I’m still going as I near June 30th, I need to find a stopping place and wrap the narrative up or start planning a sequel.
Wish Me Luck?
I would say so, but I don’t think luck has anything to do with it. Instead, wish me motivation and stubbornness. Because from my limited experience, those are the two main qualities an author needs to actually write a book.