Well. Despite my expectations to the contrary I did it; I wrote over 50,000 words in a month. Huzzah! Jolly good show and all that.
The deadline was over a week ago now and, having reached a little over 2/3 of the way through the novel, in that week I’ve forgotten everything about it because I haven’t touched it.
So what did I learn?
- By supporting other people going through it I realised that what I said to them applied to me too. Things like ‘all progress is good, you don’t fail by only writing 20,000 words’, ‘one bad day doesn’t mean tomorrow has to be bad too’ etc etc, it all seems rather obvious stuff but it’s the stuff my brain usually insists is only true for other people.
- I can write about 1.7k words in an hour and a half. 3.5k on a weekend day is doable even with quite a lot of Fallout 4 in between times.
- I can write even if I’m not really feeling it. Yeah the stuff will need even more beating with a stick than the stuff written when the juices were flowing freely but it’ll largely make sense. It might be a totally irrelevant scene which will be edited down to a sentence. A sentence fragment, even. But it can be done, forward momentum can be maintained, even if it does feel like my little 1.3 litre car on a steep hill stuck in 3rd gear.
- Planning is essential. If I know what I’m going to write when I sit down, then I can bloody well write it. The problems come when I’m unsure about what’s going to happen and then it’s like my car, on a hill, in 3rd gear in ice, and fog so bad I can’t see the road. And it’s dark and there might be rabid mole-rats in my back seat. This meant I needed periodic ‘plot reset’ sessions because I’d written my way out of my plan, usually only by a little but it was enough to make things feel like icy, foggy, mole-rat driving.
- Fallout 4 is not a particularly good break. Usually it’s best to do something that doesn’t involve a screen or reading like knitting or even (oh ye gods) housework.
- I’m not half as shit as I thought I was. Maybe only 33.33% as shit as I thought I was.
Right. I’d better bugger off and write the last 1/3 of the book and then spend six years editing it. See you in 2021.