|Photo by Civinod, via Flickr|
Hello. Look at the date.
Yes, It’s July. Half the year is gone.
What have you done with it? How have you spent those 182 days? That’s right. 182 days. There’s a common simile among writers comparing writing a book to gestating and birthing a baby. A normal pregnancy lasts around 266 days. Think on that for a moment.
Now...breathe. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
I’m sure many of you reading this post have been ruthlessly efficient. You may have piles (or files) (or piles of files) - look at that, I channelled Dr. Seuss for a moment - the point is you’ve worked. You’ve accomplished great things. You’ve met your deadlines.
For those of you to whom the foregoing applies, please accept my heartiest congratulations, my admiration, and a slight wish for you to soak your head.
But...there may be some souls reading this post who don’t have piles (or files) (or piles of files) of completed work. These are the souls I’m writing to now. Take heart. You’ve still got time. You’ve got 183 days. If you write only 400 words a day, you’ll be looking at a 73,200 word manuscript on January 1st. 500 words a day will give you a 91,500 word manuscript.
400 words. That’s nothing to be afraid of. That’s doable. Take a moment to imagine how you’ll feel New Year’s Day. Glorious, isn’t it? And that just imagining it. The reality will be even better. When you’re warbling Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve you could change the lyrics to
“I wrote a book, I wrote a book,
It came out of my own mind!
I wrote a book, I wrote a book,
I’m a literary find.”
Yes, I realize those aren’t exactly Grammy-award-winning lyrics, but you get my point.
Find a routine. It’s out there, waiting for you. Write the moment you get up or write at lunch. Write in the bath (carefully). If you can write at the same time every day for a week, it’ll become part of your day. Of course, situations occur. Relatives arrive unexpectedly. Refrigerators explode. (Hopefully not at the same time). But you can find time to write those 400 words. Lock the bathroom door. Do it. Spending time with your characters will make you happier. It’s true. It can also make you frustrated because your characters won’t behave the way you thought they would, but go with it. You’ll be glad you did. You may discover you’re not writing about what you thought you were writing about. That’s always fun. It happens. It happened to me. It might happen to you. Who knows? You don’t know what you’ll discover. And that, my friend, is magical.
400 words. It’s the length of this blog post. See? It’s doable.
Elspeth Futcher is an author and playwright. Her murder mystery games A Fatal Fairy Tale, Deadly Ever After and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the Internet. All thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by host-party.com. Her newest game, Once Upon a Murder, is about to be published by Red Herring Games. Her 'writing sheep' are a continuing feature in the European writers' magazine Elias. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Futcher, Author.