Dogged jogging on.

My eldest, who has now finished her A levels and is waiting to hear her results before being shipped off to uni, has been off school since mid May. This firstly caused me to do a lot of huffing and slamming about the house complaining that I never get any time on my own to do the things I want to do.


Secondly, quite recently, a solution occurred to me – start writing earlier. Eldest rarely comes down before 11am. If I ablute and eat breakfast and start work at 8am, I can do three hours a day, and that’s enough to do 500 words first draft plus 10 pages of editing, or 1500 words first draft, or – in today’s case – 1600 words of plot plan.

I’m doing the Get Your Words Out challenge this year, to produce 200,000 words in 2012. This looked like no problem at all during those months where the kids were in school. I’d be doing 2000-3000 words a day, and had hit 100,000 by May. Since May, though, it’s been a disaster, and the limited amount of writing time has lead me to massively prejudice first draft writing over editing and other necessary parts of the job.

I’d been writing along on The Glass Floor, thinking “I don’t know what happens next! I don’t know if I even started in the right place. I don’t know what my heroes want (other than to survive.) I don’t know if this will have a decent shape, or make sense. I can’t do this, I need a plan!”

Sure, I used to write without knowing anything, but in those days it would take me an hour and a half to write a paragraph of perhaps 50 words. Most of the time I was staring out of the window waiting for the next idea to coalesce. These days I like to feel assured that I have a plot that hangs together before I start to write it. So I threw up my hands melodramatically and wrote one.

And still, despite knowing that a plot plan is vital for me nowadays, I resented the fact that if I was writing one, I was not accumulating words for the GYWO challenge.

Then I thought “well, heck, I needed to write them for the book, so I’m going to count them as if they were first draft words.” Why not? I had no plan before today, now I have one. That has to be worth celebrating.

I also need to do second drafts/edits. I wonder if there’s a way of counting them, or if that really is cheating?

I wonder too whether it would be better to concentrate on getting the second draft/editing of one book done before starting the next. I already have two novels and the first third of a novella in first draft and my editing is not keeping pace. Would it be better to pick one and finish it, then move on to the next, then begin writing the next and stick with that until it’s done?

They say you should write every day. Does doing the second draft/editing count? It seems like it should, but it won’t help me get my 200,000 words out.

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Elin Gregory
Elin Gregory
11 years ago

/This firstly caused me to do a lot of huffing and slamming about the house complaining that I never get any time on my own to do the things I want to do./

I feel your pain, I really do. I need peace and quiet and the knowledge that nobody is going to come and disturb me. My most productive writing time is between my husband leaving for work at 7.15, whereupon I whizz round turning the TV and all the radios off to obtain the blessed and necessary silence, and me leaving for work at 8.50. He’s retiring on the 20th. I have NO idea what’ll happen then. looks like a really good idea. Nanowrimo works for me, but this seems much more civilised.

Good luck with your wordcount and all your projects.

11 years ago

I’ve enjoyed empty-nesting after the kids moved out for college & their own lives. Then the youngest moved back in last year. Fortunately, he sleeps late like your daughter and I still have quiet time on the mornings we’re both home. When I get home from work, he’s usually at work – so far, it’s working out quite well. 🙂

I was able to get those new words in during lunch breaks. I saved editing for after work/evening (while I was still coherent enough to work on them). But now I’m in editing only mode, with both my novel and pt. 1 of a novella, which I feel I have to complete to understand where my characters’ relationship stands before I can move into pt. 2. It’s frustrating when I want to write new words. *sigh*

Good luck with your quest for the 200,000!

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