Nov 14

I’m Not Going To Reach My Goal — And I’m OK With It

I’m now six chapters into my new novel and I’ve discovered I’m not a two thousand words-a-day writer. I’ve done two thousand a day, but not on this story and not so far. It was my goal, but I’ve not hit it one single day, yet.

Oh, well — it’s not the end of the world. That I can crank out a thousand words a day steadily is an achievement. What I want to point out here is that having a higher goal is good, but there also a lot to be said for being steady and consistent. I am not stopping to try and polish what I’m doing — I hope you don’t fall into that trap. It’s much more important to get the story down, the book written than to have a single or even a couple of highly polished chapters.

Get the work done! Write it! Like I’ve pointed out before, you can always go back fix it later — but too many writer never really become published, even self published, writers simply because they never finish their project.

I wanted to push myself to do two thousand words per day — because I know how much faster the novel will get done — but at one thousand a day I’m still enjoying what I’m doing and I don’t feel forced. In my case, I’m retired and this is my second career. I love my writing time but I only work at it a few hours a day. I have a wife I love and love to spend my time with — it I spent more time at the keyboard than I did, neither one of us would be pleased with it.

If I were younger and trying to get myself established — and had the time and energy of a younger man — a couple of thousand words a day would be very doable for me. I still need a body of work to establish myself as a writer — and at any age that has to be a goal for you.

Of course there are one-book-wonders. Think of Margret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind and, until recently, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (I don’t want to get into a discussion if it had been better if her second novel, Go Set A Watchman were never published — which was her dying wish). Then there’s Ralph Ellison’s, Invisible Man, Emily Brontë’s, Wuthering Heights, Sylvia Plath’s, The Bell Jar, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, and Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar. It would be wonderful to have a title like any of these beside our name — but if you’ve only got one book in you, you’re not much of a story teller. And what if you’re best work won’t be revealed until you fourth or tenth novel?

So, I’ll keep at my one thousand words a day and stay productive and happy — and writing away. I remember that Ian Fleming wrote all his James Bond novels while on summer vacation in Jamaica. I should do so well. For me the process is the key. I like writing, I like creating characters and telling stories. So, I don’t as possibly prolific as I possibly could be — give in a check in the “don’t give a damn” column. One of my favorite greeting cards of all times showed a happy hound of some mixed breed on the face and a note inside saying something like, “Every dog knows that the whole point of life is to enjoy it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>