The results? In seven days, I have produced 3625 words. At 500 words per page, that's 7.25 pages. So, about a page a day. This is not exactly blazing speed, especially when you consider that I will have to spend considerable amounts of time "cleaning up" my final product just to blend all the pieces together. All things considered, it's a good thing I like reading my own writing.
However, on the bright side, it is, undeniably, progress. And moving forward slowly is better than standing still and telling myself, "Someday, I'll start racing."
Kendra has demonstrated for me two important lessons about living, that I think apply to this. One is that setting short-term goals is useful Another is that modest goals I can comfortably achieve are better than ambitious goals that will leave m disheartened if I fail them. I would rather overshoot an easy mark than fail to reach a hard one. (I don't think this applies to everyone, incidentally--some people are better motivated by a fear of failure than by the lure of surpassing expectations.) Accordingly, I'm setting some goals for myself on this project. And I'm going to write them down here so that I can't forget them or pretend I didn't come up with them.
1) Write something on the novel at least six days a week. Doesn't have to be a page or even a paragraph. Just a line. Just something to say "I haven't forgotten." Answering email, or stuff like this, doesn't count. Has to be part of the book.
2) Write at least 3 pages (1500 words) a week.
3) Write at least 19 pages a month.
4) Write at least 250 pages a year.
5) Every 75 pages, take a week off from "writing requirements" to take stock of what I've produced so far. Start assembling the pieces that can be linked. Do some of the revising to make sense of the stuff that's changed from my original intentions.
6) In May of 2003, figure out how long the book is actually shaping up to be. (Current anticipated length: 300-400 pages.) Adjust the deadlines below as needed.
7) Finish the rough draft by the end of December, 2003.
8) Finish revising the draft into "final form" by July, 2004.
Those of you decent at math probably noticed that goals 1 through 4 don't add up--if I only just meet my daily goals, I won't make my weekly goals, and if I only meet the minimum weekly goal, I won't make the monthly--etc.
The idea behind that is to leave me some flexibility. I can "take it easy" one week and only meet the minimum goals, on the assumption that some weeks I will be inspired to write more than others. Generally speaking, my plan doesn't allow me to stockpile--if i happen to write three pages on Sunday, I'm still obligated to write a little bit more through the rest of the week. If I write 30 pages in July, I still have to write 19 pages in August.
My "week" starts Sunday.
For this month, my page requirement is 12 pages. (Since I didn't start at the beginning of the month.
Exceptions and rewards:
1) If I'm away from home (on a trip, at a convention) then I am exempt from the daily requirements, but I still have to meet the weekly.
2) If I'm away from home for a week or more, then I'm exempt from the weekly requirements, but not from the monthly.
3) Every 200 pages, I get a month off (if I want it).
There it is.
It's less than I did this week. Hopefully, it's not more than I'm capable of.
Wish me luck. :)