On Writing

Update on My 100-book Goal

When you smile because it’s Monday

So, I told you guys a few months ago about this pretty intense writing challenge I’m doing (read about it here), and I’d like to give you an update.

Date Started: Friday 18 January 2019

Date Ended (temporarily): Monday 5th August 2019

Number of books written: 22 (There’s a list near the end of this post)

What I was doing

I was writing (using dictation) for 3 hours a day each morning. My target was (and still is) to be awake by 4.15am. Sometimes I was up well before then. (My 2am days were awesome). But sometimes it could be as late as 6am.

I did not like my 6am days because it meant I wasn’t done with my writing by the time I woke my kids up at 7.30, which meant I had to finish after getting home from taking them to school, which was usually after 8.30. I very much despise writing after 9am.

Once school was out for the summer it actually made things easier as if I had a 6am day, I didn’t have to take a break to do the school run.

Things I didn’t anticipate

Image result for shocked emojiHow draining it would be

Even though it was only three hours I was getting ALOT done. I was averaging 10,000 words in 3 hours and finishing books in like ten days (sometimes more, sometimes less). I was practically giddy from that level of productivity but it was pretty hard to do anything else the rest of the day. Really hard. However, I did get better as time went on.

I needed more detailed book outlines 

They say there are two types of writer:

Plotters need to plan books out before they write.

Pantsers just start writing and see where their words take them.

I am 100% a plotter. I cannot write without an outline, without first knowing what the whole story will be about.

I didn’t think of the fact that if I’m taking only ten days to write a book I have only ten days to also plan and outline the next book so that I can immediately jump into writing it without any break in writing.

One of my book outlines was up to 45,000 words (82 pages) long. This was for a pretty long book of course. My outlines never used to be quite this long and detailed before I started this writing challenge, as I wrote whenever I liked and wasn’t consistent. But I found that in order to really be consistent and be able to keep writing without suffering writers’ block I needed to put more time and effort into planning.

I began to use most of the rest of my day, after writing, to plot new books. But I found that the more I demanded of myself, the more I had to do things that feed my creativity. Which leads me to the next thing I didn’t anticipate.

Ideas in = ideas out

I quickly realized that if I’m going to keep drawing from my creative well, I need to replenish it. I realized that I needed to read more, consume more ideas, and let them spark my creativity. I made reading and watching movies part of my ‘work day’. It was essential.

Something else that helped me massively was continually learning about storytelling/story structure and PRAYING specifically about my work. I don’t just want to bang out books. I want them to be amazing and life-changing.

Why I did it

Obviously, I did this challenge because I have this goal of having 100 books to my name by the time I’m 40 (19 January 2025!!!).

But that isn’t the real reason. The honest truth is that I have so many reasons, but I’ll just share two of them with you.

Image result for too many ideas1. I have so many book ideas

I literally have hundreds of book ideas in a spreadsheet on my laptop. I realized that I was never going to write them all at the pace I was writing at. The thought of reaching the end of my life and still having all these book ideas in me unwritten is pretty sad to me.

2. This is how I worship.

Image result for worshipIt’s my day to day purpose. It’s one of the reasons God put me here. I was created to do this so I ought to do it. Whenever I’ve not been focused on writing I’ve felt out of alignment with what God wants me to do and my purpose in life.

The 22 books I wrote between 18 January and 5 August are:

  1. Irredeemable (Saints and Sinners 4)
  2. Curveball (Saints and Sinners 5)
  3. Justice (Saints and Sinners 6)
  4. Untitled (Salem – The Lincolns 10)
  5. The Magician (Xy –  Lincolns 11)
  6. The Televangelist (Hades – The Lincolns 12)
  7. The Red Robe (Jared – The Lincolns 13)
  8. Crystal 10
  9. Crystal 11
  10. Crystal 12
  11. Crystal 13
  12. Crystal 14
  13. Crystal 15
  14. Crystal 16
  15. Crystal 17
  16. Crystal 18
  17. Crystal 19
  18. Crystal 20
  19. The Fall 1*
  20. The Fall 2
  21. The Fall 3
  22. The Fall 4

*The Fall series is about about the youngest Carter brother, Levi Carter. Hudson Carter’s story is told in my Paradise Lost series and Colby Carter’s in my Saints and Sinners series.

What I’m doing now

I haven’t hit book 100 yet. With the 22 I’ve written this year I’m on book 68, so 32 left to go. But I’ve decided to stop and plot out the remaining 32 books. I’ve given myself a target of taking 2 to 3 days per book plot. I want to finish plotting them all by the end of this year. Then I can get back to writing 10,000 words a day again until I’m done. If all goes to plan I could be done by the end of 2020. That thought makes me giddy 🙂

So, right now half my day is spent plotting and the other half is spent editing so I might be able to publish one or two books before the end of this year. I’m thinking the next Saints and Sinners book and the next Lincoln book (Salem’s) 🙂

So that’s where I’m at right now.

I’m interested: Do you have any goals you’re working on or that you’d like to work on? I love hearing about what other people are doing or want to do someday. I don’t think we talk about such things enough. Tell me about it in the comments below 🙂 😍 😘