One-Third of the Way

Remember this post? Where I talked about whether or not I wanted to follow along with this little scrap of a story? I’ve now written over 50,000 words…which is approximately 1/3 of the first draft I’ve goaled for myself (about 150,000 words).

This is my first time working on something essentially from scratch since I graduated from school (with all of my accumulated knowledge). Usually, I’ve been working on my older projects, trying to work with a more immature voice and bring it on board with where I am. And this way has been sooo much more freeing.

There’s a few things I’ve learned in the last year that have really helped my writing process and made a huge difference for my productivity.

1) Before you stop writing for the day, make a note of what you want to write next/what comes next to the plot. To someone who makes a very loose plan for my work, this has proved invaluable. That way, even if I feel super unmotivated on a particular day, I at least know what I have to do next so at the very least, I can write one scene for the day. Which often turns into two or three or more…

2) Learning to silence your inner critic. Okay, I know everyone talks about this. But it’s really so important. I used to wonder if the way I was structuring my story was weird. Or if it was weird that I write really short sections. Or if it’s weird how I put my paragraphs together. Whenever my inner critic comes up, I fight it back with these words:

It’s my style.

Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. That’s what revision is for. What matters is getting the story down. Fill in the lines and shadows later.

3) At this point, I have a pretty good idea of how I work. Which goes along with #2. I’m okay with it now. I know that I go in a little slow, lay down all my groundwork, the secrets, and the lies, so that in act 2, everything can start to explode, like a field of mines. Act 3 is for damage control. Boom. My personal writing strategy/style

So that’s where I am. Lighting the fuse and stepping back to watch the fireworks.

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10 thoughts on “One-Third of the Way

  1. Well first of all, congrats! 50,000 words is AMAZING. I hope you treated yourself (ice cream? new book?) after such a huge step in the progress of your novel.

    And your reminders are definitely things I need to remind myself of from time to time too (because I always seem to forget them in the middle of writing . . .). Especially that idea of just getting it down. Just write. I edit as I go, which makes the work cleaner, but also takes time and sets me back a lot. It’s always nice to remind yourself that even after the work is finished, you can still edit it as much you like! And it’ll seem much easier to edit when you know you’ve got the pieces of a whole novel before you . . .

    1. Thank you! Going out to dinner for restaurant week! (Do they have restaurant week where you live?) I’m so excited because this is the furthest I’ve gone on a novel and I know there’s so much more to come. And it’s been so easy (fingers-crossed). Well, relatively.

      1. Basically, certain restaurants around the county (I’m in San Diego, but other cities do it, too, like LA and Denver) offer a fixed price menu for a week out of the year. In San Diego, there is a fall and winter restaurant week. Basically, it’s a chance to sample a three-course meal at a restaurant that is probably normally outside of your budget for 20, 30, or 40$. As you can imagine, this is a big hit with college students. Dress up, go to a fancy restaurant, eat awesome good, and don’t break the bank? Excellent.

      2. What a great idea! Dressing up + Fancy Food for a good price sounds like the perfect way to spend an evening. Maybe it’ll start spreading across the country! *fingers crossed* I love community events like that. In my college town, we had a First Friday Art Walk that was really popular. If you don’t have it, the idea is that the first Friday of each month, all the galleries downtown open up and often serve refreshments. You walk from gallery to gallery and usually other places in town (restaurants, bakeries, etc) also have deals that night. Plus, because the crowds get so big, musicians and performers congregate in certain areas and perform. It’s a lot of fun. 🙂

  2. January? Writing goals? It’s all a bit fuzzy now, but I believe I did have one or two. I remember reading the “Most Important Thing” post way back then (thinking “writing/working/goal-setting with a babe in arms – you go, girl!), and perhaps setting some myself. Ah yes – I was going to complete a draft of my WIP by the end of the year!

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