The Deadline Experiment: the end

About six weeks ago, I decided to give myself a self imposed deadline to finish the current draft of Never.

I finished the draft, at just a smidge over 100k, last week.  I wrote at least five days a week (with a few days where I wrote six days) and averaged 2k a day.  There were a couple of 3k days in there as well, and a handful of 1.5k days (mostly following 3k days).

You will notice that I’m blogging about this about a week after I finished the draft.  I proved that I can work to a deadline, but I also proved that in doing so, I burn myself out.  It’s not bad burnout – I’ve been noodling about with a short story over the last few days, but it’s burnout nonetheless.

You will also likely have noticed a serious lack of blogging here, though I have been doing some blogging privately elsewhere.  I have been reading some, but I’ve fallen behind on slush reading and review reading.

It’s nice to know that I can work relatively fast.  I suspect I could push my word counts much higher if I wanted to, and arranged someone to watch the kidlet all day, instead of the few hours I currently have an arrangement for.

I’m not certain if I’d actually want to keep up such a pace on a day to day basis.  And it kind of feels ridiculous to be stating that 2k feels like a lot.  Once upon a time, that would have been nothing.  But once upon a time, I didn’t also have a kid in my life 😉

I’m going to drop back to what feels like a relatively useful pace for me, which is 1k a day while working on a first draft.  That way, I can hopefully tackle my pile of reviews, as well as catch up on slush and Aurealis reading.  And actually get some fun reading in there as well.

For now, Never is off with a few beta readers, and will be resting for a while – I’m not sure how long, it will depend on how long my betas take, really.  And how long it takes me to feel that I can actually step away enough from the manuscript to be critical.  I’m working on a few short stories in the meantime, and will also be outlining The White Raven anew.

Setting myself a deadline

I asked for, and have received, some very good advice on how to write faster and more productively.

Turning off the internet really does help, and I have a feeling that I’m going to be very glad that I have Mac Freedom on some days.  I know from past experience that making myself publicly accountable also helps.

At a guess, at approximately 60k words, I’m about halfway through the manuscript of Never.  So, assuming I have 60k to go, I’m going to assign myself a deadline to have this draft finished by September 22nd, which is in six weeks time, or thereabouts.  That’s 10k of forward motion a week, which is totally doable.

I’m going to keep myself accountable here, which means that I’m going to aim to post weekly wordcounts.

I am going to have other work to keep on top of – Aurealis reading (which has actually been a bit thin on the ground so far, which doesn’t mean that I’m on top of it, mind) and slush reading, and I owe some beta reading and some reviews.  But it’s all manageable, I think.

Let’s do this thing.