My Writing Journey #8: The Worst Mistake I Made With My Novel (So Far)
The last few weeks have been kind of slow with regards to my novel and I wasn't quite sure why initially. I was on a roll when first starting it, hitting my target word goal for the first two weeks, and then I stopped feeling the motivation to stick to it weekly. Was I getting bored of my novel? Maybe the plot wasn't as poignant and worth-while to tell as I first thought. I wouldn't be the first writer who has completely discarded a novel after the first few chapters. But deep down, I knew there was still a story there for me to tell, I just couldn't bring myself to tell it.
Currently, I am close to finishing the first act of my novel, and it was when I noticed myself unable to actually finish it that I realized why. The constraint of a specific word count for each act and the overall novel was preventing me from moving forward if I hadn't hit each target. I was forcing myself to try an reach my 20,000 word goal for the first act by making the last 2 chapters incredibly long, to the point where I didn't have enough inspiration to fill those up. So, instead, I just stopped writing and that's the worst thing you can do when you are on a roll with a novel. You want to be able to take in as much inspiration as possible and move forward with it.
So, now I've learned that even though my target word count for my final draft is 80,000 that does't mean it has to be that long for the first few drafts. The most important thing is to get the story out in the most literary way possible, even if that means I'm thousands of words short. I expect my first draft to be much shorter than a novel should be, but with major editing, character development, and plot expansion I will have a fully formed novel on my hands by the fourth round of edits. My goal for the next month is to just focus on getting the story out into cohesive words and not fuss too much about how detailed I am in the first stages. I trust myself to produce the best product that I can, and that's going to take a lot of time and work. It's silly to think that it would be perfect on the first go.