So it’s been a while.
And I’d apologize for that, except I finished not one, but TWO books in that time. So no apologies. I was getting stuff done. Better, both books are inching perceptibly towards being published. No details yet, because no contracts have been signed and nothing it as yet written in stone, but I’m starting to feel more and more confident that yes, this is really going to happen.
Which still feels a little unreal.
So what wisdom have I learned in the past few months?
First, I’ve learned that I can write far, far faster than I ever realized. If I’m really pushing myself, it’s not at all unrealistic to write 1,000 words in 30 minutes, which translates into 4,000 words a day if I write for two hours in the evening. And it’s not easy. It feels a little like you’ve run a race, honestly, but it means I can come home from work, cook dinner, and write 4,000 words. It means, if I keep up the momentum (which I’ve learned I can do) that I can finish a 100,000 word book in a month. There are caveats of course: I have to know exactly what I’m going to write, have it plotted meticulously so I understand where it will start and where it will end. I also cannot go back and change my mind, cannot stop to edit, cannot pause while I research something on the internet. Write!
It’s curiously liberating. I’ve learned, for example, that writing very fast doesn’t give me time to second guess myself. Yes, I wind up with a lot of spelling mistakes and poor grammar, but plot and pacing seem stronger, and the first two are easy enough to fix on rewrite. I make some lovely discoveries when I’m writing as fast as I possibly can. And besides, if I give myself a month to research, a month for the first draft, and another month (oh hell, let’s be generous and say two months) for revisions then I can theoretically finish a book in four months (while holding down a full time job.) I haven’t done that with a novel yet, but it feels appealingly possible. Three books in a year starts to seem reasonable.
Second, I learned that twitter rocks. Seriously, blogs are great and all, but if you’re a writer and not on twitter, fix that. Why? Because all the other writers are on twitter, not to mention the literary agents and publishers. The writing world lives on twitter. You find out about submission contests on twitter. Both my books ended up receiving valuable attention because of twitter. In fact, if they both end up published (I’m crossing my fingers) it will 100% be because of twitter made it easy for me to figure out to whom I should be submitting. More so, thanks to twitter, these weren’t unsolicited submissions, which is the holy grail for unpublished writers trying to find someone who will actually read their work and not just move it to the slush pile.
Now, personally I think there’s a high learning curve on twitter. I was not originally a fan nor did I take to twitter immediately. Learning to like twitter has taken real effort. That said though, twitter has made such a huge difference in my whole process that I have to now call it ‘invaluable.’ Oh hey, that writing fast stuff? That was twitter too. There’s a twitter writer’s group called #writeclub who run writing sprints every Friday night. Participating in those taught me that the only person holding me back from finishing my books had been myself.
Real moment of epiphany there.