I have written 100,000 words of fiction since January 1st.
Don’t start with the congratulations yet, though. They’re not great words. They’re first draft words, and one draft isn’t even finished yet (yes, I jumped into the second project less than 24 hours after finishing the first, this was not a wise decision). To meet the goals I set for myself, I’ve got at least 30,000 more words to write before December 31st. And then I have to edit, which will involve a major structural overhaul of a story that was structurally unstable to begin with. And then I have to edit some more just to put some meat on this story’s bones. And then I have to find some beta readers, and get their suggestions for more edits. And then I have to edit some more. Then I can start querying, and in the very unlikely event that I have any success at that, I will enter yet another round of edits.
I will do all this and also find time to eat, sleep, work out, hang out with friends, maintain a relationship, and work hard enough at my full-time job to ensure that my raises keep pace with the rising cost of living in my area. And of course, I have to get started on the next project.
Writing a novel is like climbing a mountain. Does that sound trite? Of course it does. Everyone believes they could climb a mountain, and they will climb a mountain someday, when they feel up to it. From a distance, the mountain’s sides don’t look that steep. You just walk straight up the side, right? Then one day you decide to drive out to the trailhead, and the mountain seems a lot taller from this close, but you can still picture yourself at the top. So you start walking, and the slope seems a lot steeper when you’re relying on your legs and not your imagination to carry you, and after a tremendous amount of effort the mile markers are telling you you’re only a third of the way up.
And some jerks are strolling up the mountain like it’s nothing at all. Some are jogging up the mountain. Experienced hikers are passing you. They have climbed many mountains before. They won’t even be sore tomorrow. Some of them are so good at climbing mountains that companies will give them vast sums of money to keep going.
I am scaling a bigger mountain than last year. I am still not close to the top, but now I can tell you exactly how far I’ve got to go. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I should keep walking.