Progress Report

Every month, I plan to write a Progress Update, detailing the goings-on of my writing life.  They will include some of the struggles, victories, and lessons I’ve learned during that month of writing.  I thought it would be appropriate to start my blog with the very first of these to get you more acquainted with me and where I am in writing.

I am currently in the process of writing my third fiction book.  The first two go together, and I am only waiting until my second book is polished before I plan to begin the publishing process of book 1.  As of right now, I plan to self-publish using Amazon’s CreateSpace.  I am looking forward to riding that rollercoaster with you all, sharing what I learn along the way.

I only recently began my third book.  Last week in fact.  I’ve enjoyed it so far, although it’s been a more difficult book for me.  It has a very different mood from my first two books, a mood which I’ve gotten used to over the last year.  It’s also a mystery, which makes it a bit more structurally difficult.  But those are both good challenges which will help me grow as a writer, and I’m looking forward to struggling through the rest of the first draft.

As a writer, I’ve learned that defining your own comfortable daily word count is key.  Write too little, it’ll never get done.  Write too much, you’ll burn yourself out.  Finding a balance between the two is the key to keeping the candle of inspiration burning.  I had a lot of trouble finding this balance when I first started writing seriously.  When I had a flush of inspiration, there were times when I would write for 11 hours in a day because I knew that once that inspiration was gone, it was gone.

Unfortunately, it took me a long time to realize that those 11 hour kind of days were part of the “lack of inspiration” problem.  Every time I had one of those days, I’d burn myself out for a month or more.  Eventually, I started experimenting, trying to get “healthier” writing habits.  I read somewhere that beginning writers should start writing 500 words a day, so I tried that.  I soon began to have the opposite problem as before: frustration at how little I could write.  My candle of inspiration was burning too brightly; I wasn’t using enough of the flame.  So, carefully, I began to raise my word limit.

Eventually, I discovered that 2,000 words was about the hotspot for my inspiration candle.  Obviously, there were parts of the book that came harder than others, and some days where I just absolutely could not write.  But overall, I tried to average about 2,000 words.

This was one of the main struggles I’ve overcome in writing, and doing so has led to an explosion of productivity.

I’d love to hear about your experience with this struggle and whether you’ve found a “hotspot” word limit for yourself.  Let me know in the comments.

Happy Writing!

-Courtney

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8 thoughts on “Progress Report

    1. Hi, Matt. Thanks for asking! I wrote the first book off and on for two years or so. I grew a lot as a writer during those years, determining my hotspot word limit and defining story structure, and was able to complete the first draft of B2 in two months.

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