Sunday, January 31, 2010

Now For My Next Trick

Well, I finished the manuscript. 75,000 words in 77 days, and only 988 words off target. I don’t know about you, but I’m well impressed.

The method I used dragged me through the mid-novel slump and even the bit where, when I saw the end looming ahead of me, my fear of what I was going to do once I finished tried to sabotage me by insisting I drag my feet. It didn’t remove those feelings, it was just that I still had to produce until I hit my target. Every single day.

When the last day arrived, I got up at my usual time (5 AM) and just hit the page running, so to speak. It was Saturday, so I didn’t have to stop to go off to work, I just got up, sat down and started writing. About 1,500 words later I found myself typing THE END, and at that exact moment (I’m not making this up) the sun broke over the horizon and lit up the living room.

Not that this was in any way meaningful of portentous, it was just really cool.

And the problem of what to do next has been solved, as well. I always planned to put the manuscript away for a few weeks after finishing it. Despite being eager to get on with it, this step has come highly recommended by many professional writers, so I thought I’d give it a go. The problem was what to do in the mean time. I toyed with the idea of trying a few short stories, but then a new project landed in my lap that is going to take a few weeks. Perfect.

This next phase—-the new project included—-is more about revision and editing than getting words on paper, so I am still wondering how I am going to plot my progress, but I’m sure something will occur to me as get further into it (I’m all about plotting progress).

So I’m off on a new adventure, which is probably going to continue taking much of the time I usually spent surfing the Internet and updating my blogs. I’m not abandoning my on-line presence, just putting it into perspective: do I want to be an Internet personality, or a writer?

Someday, I’d like to be in a position to do both, but as long as I have to make a choice, I know which one I’m going to choose.


  1. "This next phase—-the new project included—-is more about revision and editing than getting words on paper, so I am still wondering how I am going to plot my progress,"

    This next phase isn't about quanity. You now have your story down. A major step. But now, you begin the real task of writing - rewriting. Working your paragraphs, adding tension, delving deeper into the characters, description, better dialogue. In other words, all the things that will make your book -- good.

    Best of luck. Keep us apprised.

  2. Yes, the REAL work is yet to come ;) Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Fantastic, well done, Mike! It really is a huge milestone, isn't it. Not that I would know, my draft is still where it was when we spoke a couple of months ago. I got distracted on blogging and writing short stories. but I told myself it is all my way of practicing. I might be wrong, but we will see. I will come back to this novel draft, so I promise myself anyway. :)

  4. Scary: as long as you're writing something--short story, novel, journal, blog, it makes no difference. It is, as you say, all practice.