I wrote in a recent post that I’m working on a novel. It’s slow going because I have other things that area also priorities for me. I’m a parent and a wife, I have a full-time job, and my morning workouts are a must. If I told myself that I needed to sit down and write for an hour every morning or every evening, it just wouldn’t happen so I’d never write this novel.
What I do is to make a monthly word count goal of 10,000 words, then a weekly goal of 2,500 words, and I have a daily goal to write at least 400 words every day. yes, if I meet my daily goal every day, I’ll end up writing about 12,000 words per month, but I know that something will inevitably come up some days so I build in a cushion.
Something I’ve noticed myself doing lately is stopping mid-scene and picking up where I left off the next day. Todd Henry wrote about this in The Accidental Creative and in at least one blog post, and frankly Todd, when I first read that I thought it was a stupid idea. Why on earth would I stop when I was on a roll? I know what’s going to happen next, why not keep going? Lately, however, I’ve seen that Todd Henry is brilliant.
Knowing where I’m going to start writing on any given day saves me from sitting down at my keyboard and staring at the screen wondering “what next?”. I know what’s next. I can pretty easily get back into a groove and see where the story or the dialogue is going and when I hit my word count goal I finish that paragraph or that bit of dialogue, maybe leave myself a quick note about my thoughts on what happens next, and I am done for the day. I sit down the next day and the opening into my next groove is sitting there waiting for me, saying, “Hey, remember where we left off yesterday? They’re just about to open the bottle of wine. Now get writing.”
So, my apologies, Todd for ever thinking that to “end with the beginning in mind” was a stupid idea. You were right and I was wrong.