We are now 1 week into September, which means I have 3 weeks left to finish my first draft if I’m going to meet my deadline. As it stands, I have 30,057 words, or 105 pages. Can I make it to the finish line? I’d better.

This leaves me about 3 weeks to write 15,000 words. Considering NaNoWriMo participants write 50,000 words in 4 weeks, and my most successful year I wrote 40,000 (the basis for my current WIP), it should be doable. Of course, of those 40,000 words I wrote in those 4 weeks, I have only kept about 10,000, if that.

Why the push to finish my first draft by September 30?

There are a couple reasons:

  • To give me time to edit it and have it submission ready by the end of the year. I’m not sure how long edits will take, but I’m hoping this will be enough time. I plan on hiring an editor through Grub Street, so hopefully that will help speed up the process.
  • I have a YA book concept pulling at my creativity and I’m dying to start outlining. I’m already having trouble deciding which book to plot out in my head before bed – my WIP or this new concept I’m loving more and more each day
  • To gear up for NaNoWriMo – I plan on using my new YA concept for this years challenge, and I want to spend all of October hammering out a solid outline (I know, this sort of breaks the rules, but they never actually rule out outlines, they just dissuade you from using them). I’m hoping to finally complete my 50,000 words in 1 month and be well on my way to completing a second book. If this first book attempt has shown me anything, it’s the importance of writing from an outline. Going into my current WIP not knowing how it was going to end has really slowed things down.
  • I need to finish. Come November 1, I will have been working on this book for 3 years. I remember reading somewhere that it takes most first time authors about that long to write their first book. I didn’t believe it at the time. And now here I am, approaching my 3 year mark. It’s not so much about the time I’ve put into this, but it’s more about the emotional connection. I’ve been with this WIP longer than some divorces I know were married. The more emotionally connected I get to this book, the harder it will be to deal with criticism and edits. I need to be done.
    I need to move on.

My plan of action

I have to reach ~750 words a day. This is actually not that difficult. Most days I write during lunch. I can usually got 500-600 words in my 30 minute lunch period. That just means I will have to devote another 15-30 minutes each evening to writing, plus 30 minutes to entering everything into the computer (I write by hand during lunch and before bed).

Naturally, life will get in the way some days. I don’t want to blow all of my creative energy this month and have nothing left for November, so I would like to still have a life this month. But lucky for me, I already know of a few things that will help me out. Take next week. I will spend 3.5 hours on the Acela Monday morning. There’s nothing I love more than writing on trains, and isn’t that how J.K. Rowling outlined her entire series, on a train trip? I will then spend that entire week in New York, meaning a hotel room waiting for me every evening, full of few to no distractions and time for lots of writing. Then there are the weekends. If I stay focused, I can get a couple thousand words each weekend day. Piece of cake.

Of course, this means my creativity time will be extremely important. But who knows, maybe I’ll throw a celebration in October once the 1st draft is complete. And now that I’ve just written close to 700 non-WIP words, back to writing.