Tuesday, March 10, 2009

80,000 Words

I hit a lovely milestone this morning that makes me breathe a humongous sigh of relief. I wrote (without even noticing!) 80,000 words in my first draft so far. Now, I have to admit that some of these words are things like Chapter 27 and this doesn’t make any sense and make sure this is possible. But that is okay and it is close enough for me. I had a bad spell of lousy writing days Friday and Monday in which I wrote less than 1,000 words (a lot less). Yesterday it dawned on me that if I tried for just a little bit I would reach 79,000 words and at one point I was typing while keeping my eye on the word count meter and that was just terrible and I will try to never do that again in my life but I am human so who knows.

I think I may have mentioned before that I keep track of my word count in Excel, harkening to my days of managing things at work and trying to be organized. It is obsessive and not creative, and I understand writing is not about how many words but how good those words are, but gosh I needed something to motivate me each day and turns out my little word count obsession did just the trick.

Anyway, when I first started this book I did some quick formulas to map how close I was to 80,000, 90,000 and 100,000 words. Well, I am at 102% of goal for 80,000 words and have -0.73 days left to hit that goal. So that is somehow (I don’t know what makes me tick, but as long as I’m ticking I don’t really question it) a very big relief and sense of accomplishment. My ultimate goal for the first draft is 90,000 but at this point I am able to let the book wrap up in as many (within reason) or few words as it needs.

I had been worrying the past week about needing to wrap things up and not knowing how to make that happen. When I was reading in bed last night, in the middle of a lovely paragraph, an idea came to me and I thought yes, I can do this. I haven’t really used that idea yet, but having it gave me confidence, like Dumbo’s little feather and well, here we are. Plus I had a Big Gulp this morning and that always really helps.

I am pretty confident I can finish this first draft by mid-next week (famous last words, I know), falling a few days past my March 15 deadline but who the heck cares? After I get the full first draft out of my system I will blog about what it was like. I couldn’t blog about the writing the book while I was writing the book. Weird, I know.

And the nice part is, so far today (about 10 a.m.) I pounded out 2,372 words and I still have more in me - I can feel them.

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