Here I am on the other side of having accomplished what I’d had doubts I’d be able to do. I drafted the last two books in the Carrdia series back-to-back. I also did it in less time than I’d allotted. The goal was to finish by the end of the year, which was 61 days. I finished in 43.
I’m proud of the accomplishment, but exhausted, yet—I’m still driven and already plunging into other projects. Insane? Kinda, but in the most rewarding way possible. And it’s all because of my writing fuel.
Let’s get the numbers out of the way…
I first finished Aramon Daughters (125,232 words) and then A Glorious Past Reimagined (124,858). I wrote every one of those 43 days for a total of 250,090 words, or 5,816 per day.
My slower pace after the first twenty-four days was a combination of the holiday, tiring, and having to rework the outline for Glorious Past on the fly because of revelations in Aramon Daughters.
The day after finishing I was numb, my thoughts scattered, my body fatigued, yet, as strange as it might sound, I missed the urgency.
That’s what happens when you love what you do.
Since then, there’s been more reading, writing general notes for revising the series based on what I’d learned in the last two books, and preparing to draft a novella. There’s also growing anticipation because I know I’ve a lot of books to revise come 2022 and I can hardly wait.
That’s also what happens when you love what you do.
I spent most of my life taking days off from jobs I despised. Those days were me escaping. Exploring my creativity? I long to do it. There aren’t days off, there are, instead, days when I’m robbed of working on stories.
Yes, I do have other interests I pursue, but they’re sprinkled in and around writing. A full day away … it’s too much. It was, though, difficult to sacrifice what I did over those 43 days.
My best guess is that I averaged drafting between six and seven hours per day over those 43 days. There were, though, walks, along with reading, videos, and yoga. Total deprivation is counterproductive.
I’m not superhuman (I am SO not that), but I know what I want and prioritize. On the Thanksgiving holiday I rose extra early, put an enormous turkey in the oven, and wrote. Late that night, when I was alone, I wrote again. I ended up with 2,500 words that day.
The next day, though, I was exhausted and there were only 1,200 words. That was my day to sleep late, to rest because my body needed it. After that, though, the word counts climbed.
The point here isn’t that I do more than everyone else (or don’t), but that I do as much as I can. That’s such a simple concept, but it’s a critical point.
Another important point is that I see this accomplishment for what it is. I have perspective. I was proud of what I did, but there was no great excitement (okay, some of that was being alone and being numb). Still, it really is about how the accomplishment fits into the scheme of things.
Think of it this way…
Your favorite sports team (Green Bay Packers, in my case) scores right away in the game. They’re excited. There are on-field celebrations. Great, right? Yes, unless they don’t know when to stop, forget there’s still the rest of the game to play, and lose their focus.
The good teams know the game isn’t over until it’s over.
For me, this is another milestone on the way to my destination, but that isn’t the source of my determination.
And so, I (finally) get to the real point…
For me, the reward is in the doing. Each accomplishment, each milestone, is my writing fuel.
Completing a project doesn’t push me to want to rest and relax, it pushes me to refine that project or start a new one. The better I get at my craft the better I want to become. That’s where my determination, my sense of urgency, comes from. The more I do, the more I want to do.
Crazy, right? It is. Enough to make a person draft two novels back-to-back. Enough to make someone draft 250K in 43 days. Enough to make someone spend more than 200 hours/month on editing when not drafting. It’s an expansion on the idea that creativity breeds more creativity.
When I give myself to writing, it gives back. That’s my writing fuel.