Thursday, May 30, 2019

How to Write a Book in 15 Days: Actual Word Count (What to Do if you Miss a Day)

Salutations, my curious congregation. Today we will be continuing down the road we've already been on re: fastdrafting a novel. I'll be honest, I had no idea what to actually talk about today because it's mostly about taking what you already wrote down and expounding on it, but let's run with that and see what happens.

Content Warnings: My usual dose of irreverence, probably some swearing. Contents may be mildly carcinogenic. Also, don't pick the left door. Only nightmares lay beyond it.

Guys, it's been a week. My family started a really big cleaning project this week, I've been getting less done than I thought I would be (raise your hand if you're surprised -listens to the crickets-) but I am still moving forward and making progress and that is what's important.

So listen, whether your word count goals are 5000 words or 500, don't beat yourself up if you miss a day. I know it can be a slippery slope. It's kind of like skipping class. You're going to feel like you can't go back, but you just have to kind of do it anyway because if you let yourself crawl into your shame hole you're going to be there for like a week and by then it'll be that much worse.

Instead, accept it. You missed a day. You probably needed it. This is fine. If you're taking on a big project, give yourself extra wiggle room. Instead of trying to write a book in 15 days, try to do it in 20 and leave yourself those five days at the end as a buffer for if you have an emergency or just drop the ball.

Or if you're like me and sometimes hit things in your life that you just can't person through. Like fine, I know a lot of people are gonna be hype on their word count and act like if you don't get 2k+ every single day you're not doing it right. Fuck that. It isn't about keeping momentum every single day, it's about keeping momentum period.

Get your ass back in the saddle.

And you know what, do a half day to get back in the swing of things if you have to. Especially if this is the very first time you've committed to 60k+.

If you have a deadline looming, redistribute your words. Instead of 5k on day 4 since you missed day 3--well, technically 5k is still more than I actively need to hit to get the word count that I want out of the time I've allotted myself, but just math it out again, give yourself new goals and smash that deadline through the roof.

I actually did get started before I hit my stutter point, though. Usually starting isn't all that hard, it's when the story is still fresh and you feel like you can just run with it. Later is the hard part. But as far as getting started, there's a lot to springboard off of.

You're setting your tone. If this is a book where a lot of people die, kill someone off to let your reader know what they're into. Some people are going to put the book down but it's better that they do it on page one than on page fifty, having expected a different kind of story.

The first reader, the one that put your book down on page one, probably won't think twice about it because they moved on to what they actually wanted to read. The one that got to page fifty and chucked it across the room is likely going to have something to say about it.

"But what if I really hook them with my storytelling by then? Won't they make an exception?"

Yes, you there in the back, I hear you. Some of them might. But some people that are okay with that kind of content will get there, realize they were promised something other than what they got and probably get upset about it and abandon you too.

Be up front. Promise your reader what they're gonna get.

Now I'm gonna go kick my own word count's ass because I have some ground to make up.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

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