So with one week left, let’s see what our preliminary work has accomplished. Ideally, you’ve defined your setting, profiled your characters, determined an end, and now are hard at work dreaming up all that comes in between. It’s pretty much the equivalent of burning rubber: the brake is still on — no writing as of yet — but the engine is firing on all cylinders. Story ideas are clouding your head, filling it to the brim so that your thoughts are getting bogged down by clusters of words and ideas. So what’s a gal to do?
The enginerd in me can’t help but apply the law of physics to the situation. You’re not going to blast off the starting line from zero to sixteen-hundred words instantaneously. The energy of dreaming doesn’t directly translate to forward momentum; like a racecar (or a starship) it’s got to accelerate. So if you want to reach a steady writing pace of 1,600 words a day (and preferably more, just in case turkeys and shopping get in your way), go ahead and let off the brake. Today.
Can you feel it? The momentum starting to build. Today 100 words, then 300, 750, 1,200… You’ll be at the desired pace before you know it, but it’ll take a few days to get there — to remind the fingers how to type that much, to allow the brain to focus its energy on creating words on a page. Acceleration will decrease the closer you get to your target velocity, so don’t worry if you hit 1,350 words one day, then 1,500 words the next, until finally 1,650 words — Yes! Once you hit that comfortable cruising pace, it will allow you to complete your 50,000 word goal. You might just be saying on November 1st, “Thank goodness the muse got this time to stretch its legs.”
Now, go, write, succeed. See you at the finish line.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.