The title sounds like a get rich quick scheme, but I swear I’m not peddling anything. The topic came up on Twitter today when we were talking about the benefits of working from an outline. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of using an outline to work from and I think that it played a huge part in how fast I was able to write I Wish. I’m going to reconstruct my personal timeline as best I can using all dated notes, Onenote, and an excel spreadsheet.
According to my first blog post dated January 7th, 2011 I decided to write and self publish my first novel on January 5th. It looks like I started actually writing on January 13th according to this post. Of course at that point I was thinking that I’d be writing an 80k novel. I had my love write a spread sheet for me to fill in, but he wrote in the wrong formula so I spent the whole time thinking I was just flying along, when in fact it would have taken me probably 2 more weeks at the pace I was writing (2.5k words a day). Oops.
In this post it says I finished on January 28th. Since I was there, I can verify these dates to all be accurate. That’s 15 days. And on two of those days I didn’t meet my word count goal. So, in theory, I could have been done 2 days earlier.
Don’t ask me how this spreadsheet works anymore. I forget. He had some sort of 3 day projection going on or something. It also adjusted my word count up or down depending on how much over I’d written that day.
At that point I set the ms aside to start on my second project, but found that I’d frozen up. I was trying to work my scenes into a 3 act, 8 sequence story structure, but found that I just can’t do that. My brain doesn’t take kindly to that much structure. So instead I got distracted by shiny things like my new ereaders, my iPhone, and video games and I put writing aside for a couple of months. The truth of the matter was that I was dreading editing. My work came in way short and I knew I was going to have to try to squeeze in more words somewhere, but I had no idea where.
There was a gap between March 5th and April 15th on my blog where I didn’t even *think* about writing. I didn’t even mention editing my book until this post on the 19th where I basically summed up everything I just said in the above paragraph. I can’t nail it down much firmer than that. My handwritten notes all start on the 19th too. All accounts point to the first day of my editing/rewrites starting then.
I finished writing on Friday May 13th. I could pull up panicked tweets because I couldn’t figure out formatting on such short notice, but you’ll have to take my word for it. My love spent pretty much all day on Saturday with that and I was officially published by Sunday May 15th. So about 3 weeks and 3 days of editing? Of course that was with Twitter sucking all my attention so we all KNOW I could have been a lot more productive than I was. During the course of the editing I added another 12k of words and now the finished work is around 60k words. Not the longest book ever written, but it feels more like a novel now than a novella.
The purpose of this post isn’t to brag or anything. I’ve actually got a point.
I believe 100% that I couldn’t have written nearly as fast as I did if I didn’t have an outline. I’m going to set up a post to for tomorrow with screen shots of my outline and working notes. Maybe that will benefit someone to see it in actual practice.
The other thing to note is that I’m home all day. A lot of people have to squeeze writing in between a job or school or both. Me? I just have to deal with the minions. But that’s not really even an obstacle because they tend to follow me upstairs to my room (I like to write in bed, propped up by a pile of pillows). The littlest minion has a toy lap top he bangs away on beside me on his own pile of pillows and the 8 year old minion either plays with my art supplies or writes his own stories. We listen to music and keep each other company.
I’m not here to defend my work as the next big thing. I’ll never call it anything bigger than what it was meant to be: a fun book with commercial appeal. I asked myself what sort of a book would I like to read and then I wrote it. I sincerely hope to repeat the process many times to come. I’m challenging myself to actually write that elusive 80k novel in 2 weeks. That’s 5.5k words a day and change. I’m pretty sure I can do it. I’ll keep you guys posted.