So today I passed the halfway point in the 30 day novel writing challenge. I'm currently standing at 25,139 words.
This is fascinating to me. My first manuscript was in the range of 15,000 words and took me almost a year to write. My second manuscript was in the range of 6500 words and took me 3 months to write. I have now not only exceeded each individual word count but the combined word count in..I'm not that good at math, but a whole lot less time than it took the first two times.
The important question is why.
Was the story more fully developed? I'm not sure. Yes, I had wrestled with the current concept and had even started writing something - in fact, I ended up scrapping everything I wrote and started over. The characters were theoretically in place (although not, as it turns out, in the final form) and the concept was there. But I'd be hesitant to say that I fully knew where I was going this time.
Is it the exercise? Well, it's probably helping with the word count. Getting the habit of having a target and having to produce a certain amount of words a day certainly makes progress add up quickly. But it's not enough to just type words into a computer: without some sense of structure, I can see where one would get very depressed as the word count would be there but the story would not.
The key, upon thinking about it, seems to be the commitment to do it. Commitment is not just to doing the exercise, it's to doing the exercise in such a way as to complete it. I am committed to a certain word count. I am also committed to having that word count become a book of some sort or fashion, something that hangs together and makes a modicum of sense.
The output is interesting, the progress inspiring. The question for myself is this: how do I translate this into other parts of my life?