For me — like most folks with a day job — finding the cumulative time to finish a new first draft is a tricky business.
It’s not just the time though.
Most folks can patch together a spare hour a day.
For me it’s the mental fortitude required to weather a day at work, then the commute home, then dinnertime prep and youngster bedtime routine.
But it doesn’t matter. There is a window of time to be claimed. A sweet spot I must make my own.
This is what I call the elephant method. It is the only option open to non-fulltime writers.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Not that I’m into that sort of thing, mind you!
A few hours every night will add up to a finished draft.
One word at a time. One page at a time. One chapter at a time. Before you know it, you’ve got a draft done and you’re ready to edit and prepare it for the world.
If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, why don’t you write one alongside me?
Doesn’t matter what genre it is. Turn off your inner procrastinator and your inner critic. Just let your creativity flow and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve got to give. This method is about short bursts of speed and momentum. Imagine a charging elephant. It takes a bit to get to full speed, but once you find your flow… look out! I’ve written a few books now and this whole writing thing hasn’t got any easier than when I began my first book. I’m still an elephant, but I don’t mind at all.
Every book is a new challenge. A joyful, painful, maddening creation. It will test you and reward you in equal measure. I love the writing process and live in fear of it too.
I’ll be posting my word count regularly to keep me accountable. I’ll not let the fear of failure overcome me.
I’ll aim for about 1500 words everyday for 6 weeks or so.
That should build up to be about what I need to finish the first draft of my next novel, Darkness Bright.
Feel free to post in the comments about your first draft progress or any questions you might have.
Heck I’d just love to see folks cheering us on. (I’m desperate for external validation!)
Monday, 16th October – 1633 words
Woohoo! I started with a win and beat my daily 1500 goal. Don’t worry, I’m sure that there will be days where I dip under. Such is life. Anyhoo, this little parcel is made up of the scribblings I wrote on the train commute to work and then a sprint at home after making (and most importantly eating) dinner.
Anyone else hit their targets today? If you didn’t, not to worry. Tomorrow is just around the corner. Onwards charge!
P.S. Thanks so much for all your supportive comments below! I’m feeling the love. 🙂
Tuesday, 17th October – 885 words
First bump in the road. Didn’t hit my 1500 goal. I stupidly started reading critical reviews of my books after a reader said my latest work was “poorly written”. Take that confidence! Thwack. I hope I can iron out any issues presented.
I must be a sucker for pain to then go and see if anyone else thinks my books bite the big one. Why do bad reviews always stick at the top of Amazon’s review list? They must be upvoted by folks deciding not to read them. Ha! Tonight I will dream of an army of fae folk upvoting the positive reviews to get them to the top of the barrel. Speaking of which, my son requires a coin for the tooth fairy. Despicable wretches who trade in teeth… reminds me of the Jandans. What odd customs we humans cling too.
Enough of the moping, Benny Boy! Fear not. Tomorrow is a brighter day. A day to accomplish great things!
…”A day for harvesting teeth!” squeaks a voice from the shadowy innards of the wardrobe behind me.
Who said that? … Bloody toothfae!
Wednesday, 18th October – 2654 words
Distracted author realises that these updates are an elaborate method of procrastination from writing even more words.
Author goes off and finishes draft without updates over the following months.
Author then regrets not writing updates.
Author can’t work out which temporal instance of himself had the right idea. Present Ben and Past Ben debate the issue until Future Ben tells them both to hurry up and start the rounds of editing required.
Thursday, 31st May 2018 – Yes. The next year.
The day job, life, bills and many more idle excuses have prevented the final edits from completion.
Darkness Bright is still not ready and my hair is rapidly thinning.
I can’t believe so much time has got between me and my perfect plan.
This book is coming together so well, but far too slowly for my liking.
But slow or fast, the draft was done. Is D.O.N.E.
These edits will be done soon too and then I publish. Woohoo!