Stick to the Schedule
Back from when I first started writing, I have the manuscripts of five novels that I'll never publish. First, they aren't very good. Second, while long, none of them is complete.
I ran out of steam two-thirds or more of the way through. Let them drift. Lost them.
So one thing I've learned is to establish a writing schedule. If you have trouble getting through a novel, don't fall into either of two bad traps:
- Decide you're going to go back and do revisions before writing any more;
- Decide to put the book away for a little while and then get back to it.
Problem with the first is that you're apt to get caught in an endless loop, seeking perfection with what you have before bringing the novel to a close. You can't be perfect, and neither can the book. It's vital to have a whole block of marble before you begin to chip away to release the statue inside.
And you have to have a whole book before you can meaningfully revise it.
Problem with the second is that we all procrastinate. Well, I don't, but I'm planning to do it tomorrow, maybe.
Seriously, it's so easy to let it slide, until it's slipped beyond your grasp. The novel becomes a stillbirth, dead before it lived.
Avoid this by creating your own schedule for writing. It does not have to be onerous, but you do have to be dedicated to it. Most writers I've talked to have a writing time - Every day at five a.m. or nine p.m. or whatever, they sit down and write for an hour, or two, or four, or eight. Adjust to your life.
If you give writing one hour a day, every day, for a year, you'll have a novel.
I prefer, however, to have a target. On an absolutely perfect day, I've written as many as 10,000 words. That's very rare.
My target is 1,000 words. Every day. Seven thousand words a week, minimum. I almost always do more, 1,500 or 2,000, but I have to stay at the keyboard until I've hit at least a thousand.
A thousand words a day. In twelve weeks, you'll have a draft of a nearly 100,000-word novel.
It may not be perfect, it may need cutting and fixing and trimming and editing, but it's there. It's your block of marble.
And now you can chip away until you've uncovered your Galatea.