This month my word count was the lowest it has been all year at around 6,000 words. (6,132 to be exact)
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a successful writing month. Remember, being an author is not just about the writing. That is just the start.
To be a successful author, you need to publish your work.
And this involves writing, editing and building a business around your writing.
The writing is just the start of the process, albeit an important step in the journey.
So why did I continue to track my word count? Simply because it is the only way I can build a daily writing habit (or at least trying to!).
Publishing my word count each month holds me to stay accountable to myself on how much I am writing. And if I am not writing enough, it allows me to reflect back and ask why? What went well? What didn’t go so well? How can I become a better writer?
And the key to being a successful author-entrepreneur resides in your ability to reflect and review your progress and take relevant action.
What Did I Do This Month?
The majority of my time this month was sucked into the editing process which is definitely a huge learning curve for me.
I am beginning to realise that my first draft was not a first draft but rather a pile of words I had bundled together and sent across to my editor.
Now that I am reviewing the changes my editor has suggested, I am now producing ‘proper’ first draft. This first draft has more of a clear structure and narrative flow.
This has meant my timeline to publish the book has slipped quite a lot. It now looks like I will publish my book by next January 2017. I still need to go through another content edit, then copy-edit and then a proofread.
These steps are vital for my book and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that it’s OK if you miss a deadline, as long as you have valid reasons for it.
And I do have a valid reason. My book needs to have a clearer structure / narrative flow and I need to add in case studies and further research.
Sometimes we can fall into the trap of perfectionism which is just another form of procrastination.
This is dangerous to your work and for you as an author. Because if you want to make a living from your writing then you need to bite the bullet and ship your work.
This is why I am using a professional editor to give me feedback. I know I can trust her advice and I know when she will let me know when the book is in a good shape to publish.
What Went Well This Month?
This month I spent a lot of time continuing to edit my book. I edited the book online and then printed out the book and re-edited by hand. I am more comfortable with seeing the printed words on paper and I can spot mistakes easily this way.
The book was 180 printed pages which quite a lot of paper to get through! I made changes and edits by hand to the printed manuscript and am now transferring those changes back into the master document which I store online.
This may seem a long-winded process but it’s the process that works for me. And the key to your success is working out what the process that works for YOU.
I successfully completed all the manual edits and my book was covered in blue pen edits!
I am averaging 1-2 chapters of edits per day and transferring them across to the master file (typing up my edits into the master file).
What Didn’t Go Well This Month?
I didn’t manage to write every day and this is something I really want to work on. Sometimes I struggle to write because I feel lazy or feel de-motivated. As a result, I don’t put in my 500 words.
The only way to overcome this is to commit to writing first thing in the morning before I start any other work.
This is because, for me, the mornings are when I am most creative and productive. The rest of the day gets filled with other business related activities and is also when I feel less creative, more tired and less likely to write as a result. And writing, as I am finding out, is quite an emotionally draining task! We stretch our brains to the max coming up with ideas and plots and this is bound to suck up a lot of mental energy.
The only way to defeat feeling de-motivated is to plan what I want to write. Not knowing what I will write also holds me back as I dread staring at the blank page.
So I will continue to work on my daily writing habit. We are all works in progress and the writer’s path is one of constant learning.
Having said that, I have written an astonishing 127,000 words in the last 6 months which is definitely a huge achievement.
If I had channelled that into a book, that material is enough for a full-length novel or 3 short novellas!
My Goals For Next Month:
My intention is to complete this first draft edit by the end of this month. This means I need to:
- Transfer all my hand edited notes to the master file on line
- Re-print the file and perform another edit by hand to ensure it flows well
- Research required for case studies, quotes and other research
- Send final file to editor by end of this month for another content edit
After the above steps are completed then the next steps will involve:
- Reviewing editors comments / suggestions after second content edit completed (I am realising that this stage could repeat itself again i.e the manuscript may go back and forth more than twice)
- Editor to perform copy-edit. This is where she will check for grammar / typo’s etc.
- Proof reader to read manuscript
I envision I will be in this editing phase till the end of this year.
I hadn’t realised how long editing could take but it’s all a learning journey.
And as long as I am learning then I know I am becoming a better writer each day.
Even Rachel Abbot, best-selling KDP Amazon author says it can take her up to 5 months to edit her book. And even then there is always scope to keep on editing!
I guess the trick is knowing when you need to stop editing and ship your work. But for now, I know that my book still needs a lot of work. I am sure I am will know when it is time to ship it out into the world and I’m so excited about it!
What are your writing goals for this month? Please share in the comments below.