“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

My Gumbyness - An Update (or would that be Gumbiness?)

18441 / 35000 words. 53% done!

Three weeks ago, I shared my plan to attempt to write 35,000 words during the month of February. In this post, I laid out my plan and goals, which included writing 1,250 words a day (on average) and breaking out of my comfort zone - stretching like Gumby to reach the top of this mountain of words.

Well, this month has but seven days left in it, and I believe it is safe to say that I am NOT going to meet my original goal. If you look at my ticker above, you will see that I am barely past the halfway point.

Of course, that does not mean this time has been (and will continue to be) a waste. For every day this month so far, I have worked on my WIP. And,God willing, this will continue through the rest of February, and on into March, April, and beyond.

I've gotten to know my characters much better.

I've learned that it is okay not to write a story from start to finish (yeah - I didn't know this. REALLY).

I've allowed myself to write "through" points that needed to be researched, figuring I can always go back and fill in the blanks later.

I've learned that my brain will not explode (at least it hasn't yet) if I attempt two write two different parts of my story at the same time. In fact, it seems to be the best way to work on my manuscript both longhand and on the computer.

I've learned that a rough draft is JUST THAT - rough. There is NO way I will be ready to enter the first chapter of this thing in the ACFW Genesis this year (next year, however, is another issue!).

And perhaps most importantly, I have learned that I LOVE this story, and that I WANT to work on it daily. And I THINK I have learned what a reasonable-yet-challenging writing/words per day/week/month goal is for me.

Watch for my "final" thoughts on this challenge in a week or so. But, for now, I can say that I've made some serious progress on Handmaiden To A Princess, and that I may have even developed a "habit" of making progress on my word count.  And THAT is a habit I'd like to keep.

(Keyboard Photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski. Pen and Paper Photo by Stig Andersen: courtesy of stock/xchng)

Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence


  1. I applaud your first-half, Joanne! I had a loft goal mid-January to finish my WIP by February's end, but not to be. Close, but not to be...

    And I've finally let myself off the hook about it and now am going to pace myself through as I can until it's done.

    Hang in there; be kind to yourself, and may the pen write from a place of deep peace and rich abiding with the Lord.


  2. JO, you have done better than I have this month. At least you kept going. I have also learned to leave the research parts for later and skip about in my scenes, to write what my mind is excited about at that moment.

    You've had some other major things going on this month. I think you've done GREAT...considering.

  3. The greatest lesson I still need to learn is to set a daily writing goal/limit. There are times (often) when I get so caught up in my character or scene I'll write through it then on into the next. The writing time turns into marathon and the family loses me. Probably way off balance.

    I applaud your transparency here. It encourages me to discipline me. I need to slow down and allow my characters time to feel and see and smell their world.

  4. You're doing SO WELL, JoDear!! With all that's gone on this month and the editing you've been doing for everyone, you've accomplished soooo much!! Creating that habit and learning what you have about your writing process are things that will carry you many miles and serve you well!

    Love you, toots!


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