If you have been reading my blog recently, you will know that I am writing a fiction-ish book. I don’t know if it’s a good book, but I am enjoying the ritual and discipline of writing it each day.
For me, the best way to complete a project is to stick at it and not allow myself any no-work-today loopholes. So I’ve been doing that.
Some days, I have written way, way less than my ideal 1000 words/day. And other days, when I’ve had more time and the story is galloping along, I have written more.
Just committing and writing every day can grow something pretty quickly. Before you know it you can have half your first draft in the bag (or the box in my case… I printed what I’d written, so far, last Friday and put it in a box, in a bid to will myself on!)
In the beginning, there was a sort of elation at being able to get stuff down. Now, it’s more a steely determination, coupled with the odd satisfied surprise, as characters sort themselves out and slowly begin to feel more real.
On the days that I have work, I write between the end of work and the start of dinner time. And on the non-work days, I write whenever I feel like it.
I have a list in my phone’s Notes (which I access from my laptop too) that has random plot points, links and historical references I can come back to later when I am filling the gaps. And I have mapped out a basic structure, which I am often ignoring, so I always have somewhere to go. And as I said, last week I started printing out the pages – at 1.5 line spacing – so I can feel a bit smug about having a decent chunk of physical manuscript in my hand.
I figure when I’m done with draft one I will have the whole thing printed – and then I’ll put it aside for a while before I come back to read it and work on draft two. Or I might not do that. Time. Will. Tell!
Who even knows how the book is going to turn out or if anyone will ever read it. It would be GOOD if it saw the light of day, someday, but I just want to see if I can write a story and bring the people and places to life, to be honest. Imagine if it all works out!
I am thinking that once the tricky first draft – the bare bones – is down, the second draft will bring things to life a little more. I’m interested to see which bits that have crept in will need to be left out, and what I’ve missed along the way. It’s a kind of puzzle, I suppose.
Here’s how it’s grown, in case that’s interesting or motivating:
Day One: 906
Day Two: 1068 (1974)
Day Three: 1031 (3005)
Day Four: 1233 (4238)
Day Five: 1628 (5866)
Day Six: 1320 (7186)
Day Seven: 1035 (8221)
Day Eight: 1146 (9367)
Day Nine: 1279 (10646)
Day Ten: 1021 (11667)
Day Eleven: 709 (12376)
Day Twelve: 261 (12637)
Day Thirteen: 224 (12861)
Day Fourteen: 234 (13095)
Day Fifteen: 337 (13432)
Day Sixteen: 662 (14094)
Day Seventeen: 2185 (16279)
Day Eighteen: 1085 (17364)
Day Nineteen: 1701 (19065)
Day Twenty: 164 (19229)
Day Twenty One: 1173 (20402)
Day Twenty Two: 614 (21016)
Day Twenty Three: 1004 (22020)
Day Twenty Four: 233 (22253)
Not bad for a beginner!
Have you ever wanted to write a novel? What has stopped you from getting on with it? Or maybe you already wrote a story? I’d love to hear about it!
PS: Some good writing books:
Use Your Words by Catherine Deveny
On Writing by Stephen King
The Writing Book by Kate Grenville
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland
Writing Great Books For Young Adults by Regina Brooks