Hitting the ceiling

I set myself a target last week of getting over the 40,000 word threshold by today. I hadn’t really far to go but was seeing it as a barrier though, strangely, didn’t actually notice the moment I passed it. This may have been because I’d set another wordcount target, just for the day, and was more intent on reaching that, than the bigger figure.

To say I’d been worried about approaching this theoretical halfway point would be an overstatement, but I have been apprehensive. I’ve been considering how long it has taken me to get this far, and how meagre my remaining plan looks when working out that I have to make it stretch at least another 40-50 thousand words.

It’s at this point when I believe many authors give up, abandoning the project, doubt piled upon doubt that their work isn’t good enough, compounded by these thoughts that they won’t get it finished anyway. Fortunately, I’ve been here before, with A Shadowed Livery, and had the same feelings. I can’t say it’s made it easier, it hasn’t, but at least I know when I’m over this hump it will be downhill all the way home.

Then starts the real work – bashing, shaping, even crafting, the 250-plus pages into something a reader will enjoy.

Perhaps it’s the setting of small, achievable, targets which makes it easier to reach the bigger one. The old chestnut of ‘how do you eat an elephant – one spoonful at a time’ seems to hold true with most tasks at work and in life, so why not with a novel?

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