Last week I sent her the final part of my draft chapter 1 – that’s 4,100 words (we’ve both been managing well over the 500 target most weeks).
My intention had been to post it here each Friday but it soon became clear that the way I write (a bit off the cuff, to put it mildly) means that I need to keep going back and tweaking this bit or that to make it all fit together so it just wouldn’t work.
Having that Friday deadline has really helped me crack on – maybe it’s the journalist in me needing something to work to? Poor Kate even managed to write when she had a horrible cold and was feeling awful so I think it’s helping her too.
What’s more I still have plenty of enthusiasm for my story (I’m even dreaming about it) and, so far, I know where it’s going and what I need to write next.
Here are a couple of things I’ve learned in the process (most of these seem obvious now but were something of a revelation at the time):
READ: In the past I’ve said “Right, I only have time for one or the other. I need to stop reading so I can write.” And that’s been really bad for my creativity. The joy of the 500 word target is that I do have (limited) time for both (hopefully you’re not getting fed up with the reviews). Reading other books, even of a different genre, while writing has inspired me to push forward with my story.
THINK: Another great thing about having a low word count is that it still allows what I call thinking time. Before I was in that MUST. WRITE. mentality whereas now I can spend a bit of time thinking about what I am writing and where it’s going. I’m finding that the words are flowing better than ever because I have thought more about where I am going with it.
SWITCH OFF: The ping of a notification is like a drug to me. I just can’t seem to leave them unread. I didn’t realise just how distracting it was until I turned them all off when I sat down to write. Maybe I should turn them off more often, just imagine what I’d get done!
So that’s our update, how is your writing going?