In February, I started writing the next book in the The Adventures of Artemis Smith quintet, Artemis Smith and the Steam-Powered Fallacy. I had originally planned to start writing it on the 15th of January, but after some plotting woes and then coming down with the flu from hell that knocked me out for two weeks, I got a late start. Yet still, I didn’t want to change my deadline of having a complete first draft by March 31st.
Through using the amazing WriteTrack program, if I wrote five times a week (plus an additional 1,000 words on Fridays), writing roughly 2,000 words a day, I’d reach my goal of 80,000 words by my deadline.
I thought that was totally doable.
And it is.
Yet it’s also proving quite…grueling.
Don’t get me wrong: I love this story. I’m stoked to see where it goes, especially based on what I have outlined. Already I’ve had some scenes pop up that I wasn’t expecting, but they’ve always surprised me in the most wonderful ways. And it’s such a neat feeling to write something new that’s inside my head and see it come to life on paper. This sounds braggy–and I apologize–but sometimes, my own creativity just surprises me. Like when I read back a scene and I just sit back and think, Seriously? I came up with this? That’s brilliant.
(I mean, usually I spent most of my time thinking my writing is shit, my characters are pointless, my stories are going nowhere and I’ll never make it as an author, so I’m going to take my braggy moments when I can.)
I’ve never written with a “rigid” deadline before. Granted, nothing is going to happen if I don’t make my 31st deadline, yet it is something I really want to do. And some days, writing 2,000 words is a breeze. I’ve even doubled that in one session, so far. Yet other days, it’s constantly checking my word count and wondering how I’ve only managed to write 50 words in thirty minutes.
But it’s also a really neat process, to be using WriteTrack and have a specific word count I need to hit in order to keep that goal (I also love the “weighting” feature on there, that allows me to change the percentage of how much I think I’ll be able to write one day so that my word goal for that day changes, e.g., if I think it’ll be a normal writing day, 100%. If I’m crunched for time, I lower it to 50% and then my word count goal drops and the rest of the challenge adjusts also).
Usually, my goals around writing are a little less structured. Write for 30 minutes. Write four times a week. Finish this chapter, things like that. But with trying to keep pace with this deadline, I’ve forced myself to keep writing when I’d normally stop, which has resulted in some pretty killer writing sessions that wouldn’t have happened with my old habits. It’s also forced me to rearrange when I write. When I look at my To-Do list, I do writing first, not last, not after I accomplished everything else that day. I’ve been making writing more of a priority.
Damn, did I need that.
It’s just been a really neat experience. Since I started on February 2nd, I’ve written 15,000 words. Which is fantastic. I have no idea how long this book is going to be. 80,000 words is just the benchmark since that’s how long the first book in the series is, roughly. I have a feeling this one might be a little bit longer. And because I’ve stayed tenacious, consistent and stubborn, I’m now 2,000 words–or one day–ahead of where I need to be to stay on schedule. If I can keep this up and reach my goal by the end of March, then not only will I have the second book in his quintet “done” (!!) but I’ll also have proved to myself that my goal of editing two books and writing two new ones this year is totally, utterly and completely achievable.
All it takes is a little work.