Done. Done. And not quite Done!
That's how I felt on November 28 when I exceeded the 50K word count for my novel in progress.
My official ending count on November 30 was 51,428 words. I still can't believe it!
I'm now about three-quarters of the way finished with a very rough first draft of a novel I've been wanting to write for years.
The next step is pulling it out and finishing the first draft early next year. Then the revising, rewriting, and editing starts. My plan is to have a decent manuscript by the spring, unless life gets in the way of my plans.
November was not without its bumps and bruises, but at least now I can say I wrote 50K+ words in a month. Of course many of those words are crappy, but what the heck. They're still words.
Congratulations to anyone else who has ever taken on this daunting task.
Here are my lessons learned:
Write every day.
Early morning or late at night worked best for me.
Limit social media time.
Limit editing. I could not turn off my internal editor; I just toned her down.
Outline ahead of time.
Don't feel compelled to stick to the outline.
Map out characters ahead of time. (I kept changing their names and descriptions)
Listen to your characters.
Go with the flow. (cliché, I know)
Spreadsheets are your friend. (I kept one with the chapter number, title, word count, and a brief synopsis.) This was extra work but helped keep me focused and on task.
Put the WIP away for at least a month before picking it up again.