At the start of May I set myself the challenge of writing the first 20,000 words of my novel in the space of a month. It felt like quite a mountain to climb as, what with three kids, work and life in general, I don’t have much free time.
My previous attempts at writing a book had stalled at around the 8,000 word mark and left me feeling a bit disheartened. I was really starting to doubt myself. Maybe I was destined to grind to a halt around chapter four of any first draft? Did I really have the required focus to write a whole book? Let alone get through the endless, necessary redrafts? And anyway, who said what I wrote would be any good anyway?
Self-doubt can be quite a crippling thing. I’ve described mine before as an ugly, squelchy, belchy demon who sits nearby lobbing insults at me. He’s stopped me writing before and used to make it almost impossible for me to EVER let ANYONE see what I had written. Blogging has helped me deal with some of this; kind of like throwing an old sack over his head so he’s not quite as visible as before and his voice is a bit more muffled. But I can still hear him (especially when he shouts) and I know he’s still there.
But self-doubt demons are not the sort of creature who should be listened to and I decided that what would help me give him a hearty kick was to set myself a writing target. I know what I’m like; I hate to be beaten, so it was bound to be a good motivator and a good reason to ignore my writing-nemesis.
It was a busy month and I thought at times that I wouldn’t manage it… but…
I DID! A few days ago I reached chapter ten and 20,223 words! I got a massive feeling of achievement and awarded myself a large gin. Oh ok, I was already drinking the large gin as I wrote.
I know there’s such a long way to go before I have a book that’s even close to finished. The first 20,000 words of the first draft really only gets me to the lower, grassy slopes of the novel-writing mountain and nowhere near the snow-capped peaks… but it’s something. And actually, right now, it feels like a big something.
And what’s even better is I seem to have lost Mr Squelchy Belchy Somewhere along the way. Oh it’s not permanent; he’ll be back to shout insults (and quite probably bite me… did I tell you he has huge yellow teeth?) but for now he’s a little way back on the mountain trail. So before he catches me up (and before I mix any more metaphors) I’m going to publish this post and get back to my writing!
I’m linking up with Magic Moments over at The Olivers Madhouse because hitting my target really was a magic moment for me this week!