New writing goal will be met… and smashed

I continue to work on my novel when time allows, my own dumb distractions can get effectively put aside (I’m a writer, so will put my ability to procrastinate up against anyone else’s), and I’m not working so late into the night that I’m literally falling asleep as I type. Yes, that’s happened.

And it’s the weirdest thing: When I sit and work on writing the story, the story gets written and my word count goes up. There may be a connection there, but I’m no scientist, so I can’t say for sure.

What that has resulted in is that what first seemed like a totally bananas goal of writing a whole 80,000 words–generally considered a safe minimum draft length for a new author–is not only in striking distance (I’m approaching 76,000 as I write this), but 80K will prove to be well under what my eventual total will be. I can’t say what size it’ll end up being, but let’s just say I haven’t even gotten to big reveals and key events yet. It’s not going to be any Seven Blades In Black, but as I’ve been letting the story develop and finding added detail to help round out characters, it’s grown much bigger than I had thought it would. And in a good, natural way.

What will happen when the first draft is done will have to be figured out. Common wisdom holds that such projects get put in a drawer for a while and something else is worked on as a bit of a brain cleanser, so that when you pull it out again to start the (usually long slog of the) editing process, you’re seeing it with fresh eyes and can approach editing and re-drafting more effectively.

But I also just read about a multi-series writer who prefers to get right to editing the moment she’s done her first draft, so all intent and plans and characters are more fresh in her mind, which she says helps her process edits and rewrites. Not only is every writer of course different, but I’ve also read in various places that some writers will approach writing and editing differently with every book, so each book sometimes requires its own unique approaches.

That’s all putting the cart before the horse, however. For now, I’m making progress that I’m usually pretty happy with, which is really the most that anyone trying to create something can ask for.


  1. Congrats on what you’ve accomplished so far. That’s a huge deal. I find that – in my much, much smaller-scale work- leaving it in the drawer is a good technique. That means leaving a day between the first draft and the next and ignoring it in that interlude. I’m always relieved I didn’t submit the first draft. (Mind you, one can edit too much and overcook, but that’s been rare.) Works for me, fwiw.

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      And yes, one can edit to much, to be sure, and actually undo good work. At some point the fruitless pursuit of trying to make writing, or any art, perfect has to give way to it being left at good enough. It reminds me of a quote attributed (I don’t know how accurately) to Leonardo da Vinci: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

      And related, I just read yesterday that the Foo Fighters have a saying to prevent themselves from seeking perfection when they’re recording new music: “If it gets any better, it’s going to get worse.”

      Wise words all around.

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