I’ve just completed a huge achievement, drafting an amazing novel in under four months. When I started, my goal was to get back into a writing routine. Writing every day seemed the best way to do that, but once the gold stars marking my accomplishments began to appear on the calendar, I wanted to see how long my streak could last.
Could I go for a month? Writing every day in February? I’d gotten half way through when my beloved rabbit editor died. I try not to be superstitious, but every word I’d ever written happened with him by my side. Every book, every manuscript, every idea, came into life under his fuzzy nose. When he died after fifteen years as part of my everyday life, all I could think about was my loss. So I wrote about it. Giving my character a funeral to attend, sending another character to the emergency room.
Then came March, and with my first goal accomplished, I wanted to see how long I could keep it up. Except March is a month of tough anniversaries for me. Donalyn, my dear friend who inspired the Mermaid and the Murders, died in March. I’ve lost a few others in March, people who mattered enough that I always remembered them during that time of year. Those memories make me stop and reassess, am I making the right choices? It’s probably not surprising that in March the couple that had been falling so blissfully in love broke up with a screeching halt.
April is a month of new beginnings, and my couple started over. They shared secrets while a dragon chased them down and a serial killer hunted for victims (yes, this book is that epic). I had a thousand reasons to break my streak: work travel, early morning appointments, days when the words refused to come. I adjusted my goals. Sure, I wanted 1500 words a day, but I’d take 200 if I had to. I preferred to write in the quiet solitude of my home, but I could churn out words in hospital waiting rooms, crowded airports, or in between phone calls and online chats. By April, I knew 100 days in a row was possible, and I refused to give up.
And then in early May, I realized I’d hit my 100 days and my manuscript would soon be finished. I’d almost overwritten, coming in at nearly 200,000 words. That’s enough for two slightly long fantasy novels, almost four romances. I cut twenty thousand words but kept writing. I finished at 106 days of writing. I suspect I’ll spend three times that editing, and I can’t wait to get started.