The first draft is done! All 128,000 words of it.
And 90,000 of those words have been written since January 6th. Thank you novel_in_90
. My previous rate was about 20k a year, so under normal circumstances I would have finished this in mid 2011.
Things I have learned:
-Being told that I should put Butt in Chair and write for a certain length of time every day causes me to stare at a screen for that length of time. Knowing that I have to produce a certain number of words or be mocked causes me to pound out 750-ish words in an hour to an hour and a half.
-Waiting for the muse to strike does not give me better words than writing every day. Actually, I think I'm writing better words this
way. This is partly because I can feel the novel's pacing more clearly when I'm writing at an even rate. Also because I've just fit four years of learning-by-doing into four months.
-Writing every day, workmanlike, does not take away the romance. I've had two days of writing ecstasy in the last four months, which is about average, maybe a bit high. It's just that I've had a bunch of productive writing days in between.
-As Neil Gaiman points out, a good writing day is a good day. Since I've been writing more, I've had more good days. Except for the usual end-of-the-semester stress, in fact, my mood has generally been more even than usual, and my productivity in other areas has been up too. If I know I have to produce words, there's no point in writing a day off entirely (no pun intended) when I'm feeling under the weather. On a related point, it's much more clear to me now when I'm actually sick or exhausted, because those are the days when I can't
-I can produce books at a reasonable rate around my academic schedule. This is good, since I love my day job and have no desire to quit.
I'm 31, and have been writing the same way, approximately, since I was old enough to pick up a pen. This is more or less the only thing I share with my 10-year-old self. I'd assumed that I was a very slow burst worker, that I produced my best work that way, and there was no way around it. Now it turns out that a completely different set of thought processes works even better for me. What else could I be missing?
Dinosaurs are next. Dinosaurs and editing. I'll probably be bugging my beta-readers with the first-pass draft in about a month.