As we come to the end of the 90-Day Write cycle in the 85K Challenge, how are you feeling? Perhaps you hit your goal of 85,000 words in three months? If so, congratulations! You’re probably ready and excited to embark on the upcoming 60-Day Edit.
But what if you didn’t reach the word count you hoped? What if you’re still a little short? Or, perhaps you feel about a mile short of completing your first draft?
The most important thing, at this stage of your writing journey, is that you don’t give up.
Regardless of where others in the 85K community are, and irrespective of the word counts you’ve seen others reporting, ask yourself: have you made progress? What will happen, if you just keep going?
The truth that many of us forget is that small steps really do add up.
Maybe you can add a few hundred words a week to your manuscript. Maybe you can only add fifty words a day. But if you repeat this action, week after week, your word count will grow. You will finish your draft.
If your writing habits have slipped, remember, you can make a fresh start any day of the year.
There is nothing special about January 1st. Tomorrow can be just as symbolic if you choose.
The wonderful accountability from a program like the 85K Writing Challenge also brings with it a temptation to compare yourself with others.
Try to use creativity when you look at the progress other writers have made, instead of self-criticism. What can you learn from them? It can be a big help to compare only when your energy is high, not when you’re already in a downbeat, defeated mood.
And, what can you learn from the difficulties you encountered between January and March?
Pause to acknowledge the curve balls which got in your way, whether they were writerly doubts or interference from life beyond your manuscript. Most importantly, if you are experiencing feelings of failure, can you re-frame that as learning?
As a reminder, some iconic novels took years to write. If your first draft isn’t yet finished, but you’ve enjoyed Lord of the Rings, Gone With the Wind, or Jurassic Park, know that you’re in good company.
Whatever you do, remember, forward is forward! Please don’t give up.
– Pauline Wiles
Enjoy this podcast discussion between Julie Valerie and Pauline Wiles.
PODCAST SUBSCRIPTION & DISTRIBUTION
At the moment, we’re hosting these podcasts on this website only. Therefore, your best listening option is to listen using your computer. Perhaps in the future, we will distribute on iTunes, Google Play and the like, but not at this time. We’re still learning the podcasting ropes and getting our feet wet. Hope you understand. Of course, this means there isn’t a “subscribe” mechanism in place for any of the podcasts. But maybe someday. Thank you.
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About Pauline Wiles
Pauline Wiles is the author of three light-hearted novels as well as Indie With Ease, which helps self-published authors conquer stress. She believes pragmatic self-care is the foundation of a long and happy writing career. Her own version of this includes plentiful tea, cake, and running. Get more tips on purposeful productivity for writers and a free mini course, Focus for Writers, at paulinewiles.com/writers.
About Julie Valerie
Founder of the 85K Writing Challenge, Julie Valerie writes humorous women’s fiction and is developing a series set in the Village of Primm. Her first novel, HOLLY BANKS FULL OF ANGST, was sold to Lake Union, a commercial women’s fiction imprint of Amazon publishing as part of a 2-book deal and will be published in early Fall 2019. Visit Julie Valerie’s author website at julievalerie.com. Never miss an update by subscribing to Julie’s once-monthly author newsletter. Twitter @Julie_Valerie. Facebook Author Page fb.com/JulieValerieAuthor/. Instagram @julievalerieauthor. Pinterest @julie_valerie.