Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weekly Word Results

by Elizabeth

At the beginning of the month, I blogged about my new method of goal-setting for my work in progress. Said something about getting back to you at the end of the month to let you know how it went.

Here's the truth: even as I wrote that, I wondered if I would post something else today, anything, really, other than an update that would be forced to admit I had failed.

At the end of September, my manuscript had just over 37K words. Taped to a torn off sheet of paper were the goals for the next month, which would, if I met the weekly goals, land me at 75K words by October 28, which was this past Monday. Instead of a daily "write this many words," I set weekly goals. Since I had a fly/drive trip to North Carolina, I gave myself a break that week, and the week after since I knew the long drive home would knock me out for a couple days.

It looked something like this:

By September 30: 47K
By October 7: 52K
By October 14: 55K
By October 21: 65K
By October 28: 75K

Did I make all those goals? Honestly, I didn't. The first goal, yes, with a marathon of all day writing totaling just under 5K words written on deadline day. October 7 I called it a day at just over 49K words in the manuscript. Close; and on the 8th, I headed to bed at 52,544. So a day late, but I still felt okay. I exceeded my mid-month goal by 259 words a full three days early, and hit my second-to-last deadline by squeezing out almost 3K words that day. And this past Monday? I did it: 75,016 words in my manuscript by 9 p.m., almost four thousand of them written in a single day.

So what did I learn? First off, that this was without a doubt an absolute success. Second, that if I miss a deadline by a hair, it's okay, because knowing it's there, I'll get there the next day, and sometimes you really just need to sleep. Third? Two thousand words a day doesn't work for me, because sometimes it's more than I've got in me. But other days, I have a lot more, and if I plan for just two thousand words, I might be missing out on an easy five that flow like hot syrup.

And I also learned that 75K words does not, at least in this case, a manuscript make. So what's a girl to do? It's very clear to me: new goals to get me to let's shoot for 90K words by Thanksgiving.

I'm confident I'll do it. And that's one of the best lessons of the year.

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