For the past ten weeks, I’ve been on a writing quest, a grand creative adventure. I needed to write an 85,000-word book and have it done by the end of November. I’m pleased to report that I made it. This stands as one of my most significant accomplishments as a writer (so far).
Although writing 85,000 words in two and a half months pales next to all the novelists who just finished NaNoWriMo, where they wrote 50,000 words in one month, I want to point out one difference. For NaNoWriMo the goal is to produce the first draft; editing and polishing come later. In my case I needed to have the finished version, one carefully edited and smoothly polished. I am pleased with the results.
As I considered this project back in September, I had two conflicting realizations: If I committed to this opportunity, I would surely wish I hadn’t, but if I passed on it, I would surely regret it. In the end, I said “yes,” prompted by a nudge that said, “you’ve been preparing for this; you are ready for this challenge.”
I blocked out half my day during the week to work on this project, leaving the rest of the day to do everything else. Starting around 5:30 a.m. and writing to about noon, with periodic breaks to eat, exercise, and shower, I logged about 30 hours a week on the project. I’m glad for what I accomplished, and I’m glad I’m done.
But until I actually did this, I had no idea that I could; I didn’t know what I was capable of accomplishing. So it is with all writers.
Though your writing goals may be bigger than mine or smaller, I encourage you to set a goal that will stretch you, one that will push you harder and cause you to reach for more. It can be anything, and it doesn’t need to be big. It just needs to challenge you in the place you’re at as a writer and move you to the next level.
As writers, we can all do more than we think we can. Let’s reach for it.
Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.
9 replies on “Do You Know What You’re Capable of Accomplishing as a Writer?”
In March, 2015, I was led to become more consistent in writing my blog posts. Writing once a week was/is tough for me! However, by doing so, I have seen my writing and creativity improve. By accomplishing this goal, it has prompted me to improve my blog site and now a new and updated blog site will roll out in January, 2016. Practice makes perfect! In addition, following God’s leadership produces a closer walk with Him and many times extended ministry opportunities. Great post Peter. Congrats on your new book! Can’t wait to hear more about it.
Patti, this is wonderful. Isn’t it great to see our progress as writers?
Been there …. any all-nighters? Great job, Peter!!
Thankfully this project went smooth and was on schedule. For other projects I don’t think I’ve pulled any all-nighters, but more than once I have gotten up around 3 a.m. to meet a deadline. I couldn’t sleep and was running out of time, so why not?
That is incredible, Peter. My big accomplishment is finishing the set of 26 devotionals for Advent, during which I used the scripture “Jesus learned obedience through the things that he suffered,” (Heb. 5:8) — maybe we learn writing through the things that we suffer, lol. I am proud of you, and like others can’t wait to see/hear the results!
Great job! (Feel free to post the link.)
Congratulations! Writing, editing and completing a polished version of an 85,000 word manuscript in 2 1/2 months is huge! I just completed 61,000 words for NaNoWriMo, but as you mentioned, it’s far from being ready for publication. I find the editing process to be much harder and more time-consuming than writing the first draft. That’s why I give myself a break in between and seek out feedback from others as well as a copy editor. But I guess if I had a deadline, I could do it.
here is a link to the first half, and the second will go up later in the week. 🙂 Thanks!
Congrats on 61,000 words. You surpassed the goal by 20%. Well done!