Taking stock: A third down, two-thirds to go

May 19, 2009

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner: You’re reading my blog, aren’t you?

Gardner blogged this week about the importance of not putting the cart before the horse. In other words, writers need to get their writing up to speed before worrying about the details of publishing. The post seemed like it was written for me.

Until a month ago, I was so focused on learning about publishing and researching literary agents that the actual writing had fallen a few rungs down on the priority list. But that’s changed, and now I’m really making progress on the manuscript. Admittedly, I should have spent more time writing all along, but I don’t regret researching the industry. As a result of that research, combined with completing my book proposal and outline, I now know what I’m doing and where I’m going.

To celebrate this progress, I sat down yesterday to calculate exactly how much I’ve written. It’s more complicated than it sounds because I write in pieces, out of order, using my outline as guidance. I’ve completed drafts of two full chapters, but the rest of my finished pages are scattered all over the manuscript.

According to my outline, my manuscript will be about 350 pages. By my count yesterday, I’ve written 133 of them. That means I’ve drafted a third of my book!

Now that I’m chugging along, I’m ready to set a new goal for myself: Write four pages each day (about 1,200 words). If I stick to that regime every day, including weekends (Yes, I write on weekends), I’ll have a rough draft of the manuscript in two months.

That sounds doable, right?

If I have to write this entire book before submitting it to agents, so be it.

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    0 Replies to “Taking stock: A third down, two-thirds to go”

    • Karen Walker says:

      Congratulations on 133 pages!! That’s fantastic. And yes, your goal sounds very “doable.” You go girl.

      Karen Walker

    • Way to go! Isn’t it fun to see those manuscript pages add up!

      Jane Kennedy Sutton

    • Interesting to read another author’s way of going about it – writing a manuscript. Yours is the helter-skelter held together with the outline approach. 🙂 Me, I don’t much use an outline other than a sketchy plot idea, and I’m more of a start at the beginning and write straight forward til it’s done kind of guy.

      A notable exception was the other night however, when I got an inspiration in the middle of the night, got up and wrote the LAST scene in a WIP I’ve only written about half the first chapter of so far! Go figure.

    • I think your plan to finish the manuscript and worry about the agent stuff later is well founded. I also think your observation that learning about the industry and agents is time well spent is true”¦you’d have to do it eventually.

      I don’t do well with writing goals, other than to try to find some time during the day to get it done. Because I’m such a goal oriented person, I’d be obsessed with meeting the goal, and quality would suffer. But, that’s me.

      Here’s a tip of the cap to great progress made thus far. Soon, you’ll be more than half-way there. How exciting will that be.


    • Your goal is not only doable, it’s just the right (in my opinion) number of words to keep your schedule in balance and move your story forward at a steady pace. Keep us posted.


    • Destineers says:

      I think you are right on track, Alexis. The wonderful thing is, you’ve already done the research to find out what needs to be done when the manuscript is finished. A lot of writers get blindsided by the inital realization how much there is to do after the manuscript. When you know what to expect you can plan for it a lot easier. Great post.


    • K. A. Laity says:

      Good plan! I think you are well along on the right track. I’m sure success will be coming your way and you’ll have a clearer idea of what you are pitching to agents and publishers.

    • Enid Wilson says:

      Wow, 1200 words a day will be too much for me. I normally write 3000 a week. But I think if you feel comfortable with that aim, go for it!

      Steamy Darcy

    • Karen Brees says:

      Good plan, but don’t get so hung up on the word count and page roster that you lose track of what you decided to write and why. Story first.

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