October 11, 2012

finishing the first draft

I’ll keep this short today since I want to get as much done today as possible, but I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on this first draft.

Writing has always been a mixture of passion, neuroticism, frustration, anger, depression, and love for me. It’s a wibbly-wobbly thing, writing a novel. There are ups and downs, and there never seems to be a balanced day in the whole affair—no day where you close the document and feel like it was just an ordinary work day, just words on the page. Either you close the document and shut down the computer in a frustrated rage or worse, desolate gloom, or you leave the document open to remind yourself how awesome you are, grinning ear to ear with a faint squee escaping your lips, possibly while flailing. Sometimes, the day was so flail-worthy that you force your husband to flail with you, and suddenly, there’s a flail party in the kitchen because you had such a good day at your desk. At least, that’s how it is for me.

I started the first draft of The Wizard’s Heart the first of July. I’ll finish tomorrow, the twelfth of October. That’s three-and-a-half months, fifteen weeks, working Monday through Friday. I took one week off in August and two weeks in September. And the first week was sort of a trial run. I ended up starting over the next week. I still include those as work weeks because I spent those weeks recharging and reevaluating the manuscript. The story is better because of those breaks, even if one week was spent having a Downton Abbey marathon and another a week-long vacation to Colorado. All things considered, I’m amazed that I’m going to finish a nearly 100,000 word draft in less than four months.

And now, because I love math, here are some numbers for you (I has a spreadsheet!): 

Average word count per writing day: 1780
Average word count per writing week: 8910
Most words written in one day: 4830
Most words written in one week: 11,000

Assuming I write another 4000 to 5000 words today and tomorrow, this week will be my most prolific, coming in at 12-13,000 words. The above averages are calculated assuming that the final word count will be around 98,000 words, and of course, excluding days/weeks I didn't write.

Now, my averages are below my goals of 2000 words a day and 10,000 words a week, but, as with anything, there are numerous setbacks when writing a novel—plot problems, being sick, having to fix something you already wrote, being tired, not jivin’ with the story yo, etc. But nearly 100,000 words in just three-and-a-half months is no small achievement. It took me writing at least four hours a day, sometimes more, to be able to do that, and it was never easy. Most of this draft was me sitting in front of the keyboard with my head on the desk. But then, I would reach my 2000 word goal, and I’d feel super accomplished and awesome, and I was sure to tell all of you about it on the G+.

So, after tomorrow, this wibbly-wobbly labor of love will be complete. I believe it is the best thing I have ever written. It’s sure as sunshine better than the first draft that I wrote back in college. I’m just glad that I finally had the talent to do the story justice. This is the book that was for me. And hopefully soon, it will be a book for you too.

But that’s on down the line.

As always, I’m glad you’re still with me, still wading these novel-writing waters, even though our boots sometimes leak. Thanks for all the support, here, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and on my newly aired vlog. You are what keep me writing.

So, thanks. :)


  1. You've done impressively well. Even tabulated statistics. Yeah, I don't think I could manage that lol! Look forward to hearing more about THE WIZARD'S HEART.

  2. Congrats! It's awesome that you have such a great schedule and stick to it.