Last night, around 11:50 PM, I finally hit my goal for the day- ten thousand total words. And where yes, I’m still behind since yesterday everyone else would’ve been at 13,336 words, I count this as great progress since that’s 10k words in five days, actually ahead of schedule had I started on November 1.
Yes, it has been an intense few days, between massive amounts of anxiety over whether the finished product will be worth something or just fifty thousand words of trash, as well as more anxiety over when I’ll run out of creative juices and just stop. I’ve been doing my best to push these thoughts away however. It’s still a long road, and I’m still chasing the train of being caught up to the right word count.
I’m getting closer by the day though. Every day I work at least up to my word count, and every day I try my best to work over it to lower that number and eventually get to 1,667 and lower.
Overall, I’m excited for the story. I’m excited for the plot, the worldbuilding, and the characters. However, I’m worried about the execution. Worried about if I wrote it well enough, or an just writing out a long, boring, passive description. I realize that it’s just a draft, but sometimes pushing those thoughts away can be hard.
For today though, I’m choosing to look forward, but not too far forward. I’m looking at the next few days, but I’m not looking at that big number, and what happens at the end of the month. No, I’m not ready to edit this draft. I’m still developing these characters, loving on them and shaping them. That has to be finished before I shatter them and their world to pieces and glue it back together.
So for now, I focus on writing. Not quality, not syntax or an active voice, not trying to show every emotion rather than say someone was angry. Now is the time for bonding, where I can smile and laugh and play around with my characters before they ‘become adults’ in the final draft and their actions are set in stone.
And finally, for once I’m choosing to not worry about how much of me is in my characters. Every other time I’ve written, I’ve pushed away the project in anguish because my characters were almost clones of me, the circumstances things I had felt. But this time, if that happens so be it. Let the characters be me, let the world they live in be the struggles I deal with every day and hide deep, deep down inside.
The question is, will they know?
Will the readers know that the book is me, or will they just see it as a good story? Will they see that the antagonist is my antagonist, or will they just see it as rather lifelike? Will they know that each character’s thoughts, actions, and longing for freedom is reflective of my own, will it reflect on themselves as well? I don’t know. But I’m not going to worry about it yet. I’m going to let this be the one time that I let my fingers run free over the keyboard without my mind stopping them, without worrying as much as possible. There’s plenty of time to worry later, now we just write.
And write. And write.
But isn’t that in our job descriptions? We’re writers. That means we write. We’re not anxietyrs. We’re not worryrs(Though both of these may be hobbies for many of us). So our job is to do our job, and love it! No, it’s not as easy as I make it sound, and I know that. But we should at least do our best to put that worry aside.
And hey, be excited for even the little things. It doesn’t matter if you finish the goal at the end of the month, or if you manage to write fifty thousand words of trash. Did you enjoy the ride, and did you learn on your way there? That’s worth more than having a full novel laid out by the end of the month.(Although, hey, finishing a novel is a great thing too)
So go grab a cup of coffee. Or tea. Cocoa, hey, maybe you just like plain water. Grab your favorite beverage, a blanket, and get comfortable. Put on your favorite music(I’ve found orchestral remixes to be nice) and just write. I find my cozy spot to be writing from nine until midnight, in pitch darkness in the living room, alone. The time constraint of midnight helps me to focus. But maybe you’re a morning writer. Maybe you want to wake up at 2 a.m. and write for an hour, then go back to sleep. You do you, however you want. The only important thing is that you write.
And join me. The month has only begun, each and every novel is only just beginning to blossom, and I can’t wait to see what the end result looks like. Look up, my friends, not at the summit of the mountain but at the steps ahead. After all, the way up the mountain can be just as exciting as the summit!
Also, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Drink lots of water. Please, please stop your writing every now and then and go eat something. Your body will thank you.