Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Chapter a Day (Sprint Versus Long Distance)

Sprinting is running full-out as fast as you can for a short distance. Long distance running is pacing yourself, and positioning yourself to stay in the race longer for a greater distance.

My "ideal" of writing full-time had been that I would sprint, sprint, sprint, writing each first draft with lightening speed; however, during the last four months of writing full-time, if I've learned nothing else, I've figured out that I am more like a long distance runner when it comes to drafting and getting the book out of my head.

Yes, I can and able to fast and lightning draft. If I push myself, I can write 4,000 to 5,000 words per day. Yet, in doing so, it has become apparent that of those 4K to 5K words, approximately 1/4 are salvageable and usable, if I'm lucky, with several revision drafts ahead of me to bring the salvaged words to final draft condition.

On the other hand, if I focus on a chapter of approximately 2,000 words and work through that chapter at a slower, more deliberate pace, editing a bit as I go, that chapter ends up being close to final draft quality.

With a solid week of planning and plotting, instead of rushing to do so in a couple of days, and a chapter-by-chapter focus, it is feasible that a 60,000-word novel can be first drafted in a solid, close to final draft manner in approximately five (5) to six (6) weeks.

Obviously, the lightning draft, get it out fast, fast, fast approach is not working. My previous first draft of Book #1, Series #1 is evidence that this method does not work for me. As I've said many times before, we each find our writing process, by experimenting with what works for us, as individuals. What works for many others, may not work for me, and vice versa.

What I do know is that a solid 2K of writing a day will get me where I need to go, draft-wise. Due to the time it has taken me to learn this, I am behind schedule on my original goals for the 2012; however, for the rest of this year and into 2013, my path is laid out before me in a reasonable, realistic manner.

2,000 semi-edited words per day is most certainly reasonable. This writer gal is in it for the long haul, for the long distance span that it might take me to complete and publish this series, and for writing many books beyond that. One chapter per day -- not too shocking or taxing or overwhelming -- is doable. So off I go to write, one chapter at a time, 2,000 words per day. Onward!

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