On Wednesday of last week my brand new (that day) critique partner, Leona Bushman, suggested we write a chapter a day, five days a week. This was to be our goal so as to make us a/both accountable to ourselves and each other and b/write at least five days a week. This worked well, until Friday when I inexplicably sent her two chapters and then decided to continue doing that. Except for, I think it was Sunday, when she whinged at such length about having to wait twenty-four hours for another chapter that I wrote and emailed a third chapter on top of the two I had already sent her that day.
Unfortunately, two chapters was only taking me a few hours to write. With my CP eight hours behind in Washington state, US, and my other partner in crime, Peter Koevari, twelve hours ahead in Australia, the hours between 1pm and 8pm were largely filled with me being bored. As you may have noticed, I have no life, being currently off work with a back issue that prevents me from doing anything fun at all.
So yesterday, and again I have no idea why, I decided I was going to write ten thousand words today. Yes. That’s 1 0 0 0 0. To put this in perspective I have been sending about 3 – 3.5k a day to Washington. But obviously I have too much spare time, so I decided to put it to a more productive use. Ah yes, that was why.
So here’s the thing. I actually did it. I wrote 10,045 words today. Took me six or seven hours but that included a couple of walks to the shops to get some fresh air and stretch my legs. But I did it.
My point is, I had no idea that I could. I mean, technically of course I could. If I could write ten thousand words over the course of three days why not over the course of one? But did I know if I had the mental strength, stamina and sheer bullheadedness to actually do it until I did it? No, of course not.
It’s amazing what we can do when we really push ourselves. I’m not sure I can do this for the next four days in a row, but if I could I would probably have a finished first draft by next Monday night. I’m certainly going to give it a shot.
As writers of books we have all, consciously or otherwise, set ourselves the target of writing a novel. It is important to remember that whether we recognise it or not, we are all capable of more than we think. Having a regular writing schedule is absolutely imperative to a writer. After all, someone who writes five hundred words a day for six months will finish their book sooner than someone who writes ten thousand words one day a month for six months. But every now and then, push yourself a little further. Or a lot further, just to see what you can do. You may be amazed by the results.
What do you think? Have you ever amazed yourself by achieving more than you thought possible?