Going into my fourth week of fiction-writing, I was at a pretty good (but not great) place. I had 36,500 words done going into this weekend; not terrible for three weeks of full-time writing, but not great.
At the time it seemed incredibly daunting; a truly Herculean task. How could I possibly write five whole pages (!) in a day? It was so much!
Needless to say, I was completely naive about both what the work required and what I was capable of. I had dutifully saved up enough cash to try to "make a go of it" as a full-time writer, but I was too worried about "non-writing writing things," if that term makes sense; building a platform, working on ways to build e-businesses to support my writing efforts, and probably a good dose of plain old procrastination thrown in there for good measure.
As I've detailed before, my season covering the Rams completely changed the level of discipline I have as a writer, as my weekly Power Rankings frequently tipped the scales at 5,000 words, all written over the course of a day. If you count the other five columns I was writing a week, which usually were around 1,000-1,500 words each, I was good for 10,000-12,000 words a week or so, which at the time seemed like an enormous amount.
When I started working on this novel, I wanted to write at least that much, so I figured I'd start out with a goal of 3,000 words a day and go from there. I haven't been quite THAT productive as of yet; I still average around 12,500 words a week, but I've steadily grown more productive as the days have ticked off. My efficiency has improved greatly, and I'm generally able to get more done in a day than I ever thought possible going into this project.
We all have "barriers" that we think we can't possibly break through, but it's my experience that these are often self-imposed. I thought that 25 pages a week was an "insane pace" at one time; over the past three weeks, I've averaged 40 pages per week, easily, and I'm still nowhere near full capacity.
I guess that's what bothers me the most; though I'm moving along at a pretty good clip, I still know that I can push myself more, write more, go further. I can easily get to an average of 4,000 words a day or more if I really push myself, which will get me to editing that much quicker, which will result in releasing the book that much sooner, which means that I can then move on to the next project that much earlier, and...well...you get the idea.
Eventually, I hope to work up to actually being able to write for 8 hours per day, by which I mean not counting breaks, etc. It seems like a pretty crazy goal at the moment; right now, I'd guess I'm right at about four hours or so.
But every time I get mad at myself for not being as disciplined as a Stephen King or...uh..."Dean Koontz," I remember back on those early days where I was averaging an hour of "real writing" per day, and I see how far I've come from there. If I can develop this much in that short of an amount of time, I'm sure I'll get there eventually.
For now, it's all about improvement. And with continued hard work, practice, and perseverance, I have to think I'll get there eventually.
Pages: 138 1/2
D.J. Gelner covers the Rams beat for insideSTL.com, and is an aspiring author. Follow him on twitter (@djgelner) or facebook (here). E-mail him at email@example.com. You can also listen to his podcast (Bottle and Cans) here.