At long last, I have typed THE END on the final page of Postcards From Ireland. It has not been fun.
I find this very strange, because this was a memoir, an amusing romp into a very pleasant time in my past, it should have practically written itself. But it didn’t. To steal a phrase from Meg Gardiner, it was like pulling my own teeth: slow, painful and messy. Every sentence was agony.
And when I say I have finished, I don’t mean the first draft. A first draft to me is when you can read the manuscript from beginning to end without bumping into the notes I leave behind, like breadcrumbs on an unfamiliar trail:
- TK: is this how you spell Cladda?
- TK: check this for accuracy; Wikipedia isn’t always right
- TK: this paragraph is shite; fix it! I don’t care how, just do it!
- TK: Insert the hippopotamus story here
So I still need to go over the manuscript, rewrite it and fill in all the gaps before I can actually call it the first draft; what I possess now is a rough draft and fervent hopes that the future work goes faster and is less painful.
The hows and the whys of the difficultly are no longer important; all I care about is that it is behind me and that it is not normal. I finished my previous novel in 88 days with a final word count of 93,000 words, but I have been kicking this book around for 262 days and only managed 44,000 words (for those of you keeping score, that s about 167 words a day). Granted, I complied and published More Postcards From Across the Pond and rewrote my novel to my agent’s specifications during that time, so I wasn’t completely slacking off, but still, that is an appallingly long time for such a paltry output.
If I’d been following Rachel Aaron’s method of producing 10k words a day, I would have had it done in less than a week.
(By the way, Rachel’s claim is not an empty boast, it’s a step-by-step, achievable method. Well worth a look.)
I don’t think I’m quite ready for 10k a day—I’m far too disorganized and I have an amazing talent for frittering away time—but I’d better step up the pace on the revisions and the rewrites or my “10-Year Anniversary” book won’t be out until my 20th.