Yesterday, after I finished the outline for the novel, and this morning, I experienced a weird anxiety. While I was some what excited to start writing, I also felt nervous about it. I finally told myself that it was okay to feel anxious about jumping off a cliff, because that’s what writing first draft is like for me. I jump off the highest point I can get to, then spread my arms, certain that the wings will form, the updrafts will carry me, that I can do this.

Today I took all my coins into the bank and converted them into folding cash. Then I used my mad money to take myself out to dinner. One glass of wine and a marvelous meal later, I was ready to write. Told myself that it was okay, I didn’t have to do much, just 100 words or so.

I jumped into the first page, but I didn’t want to finish while at the restaurant. The restaurant only offered sorbet for dessert, and I wanted something else. So I walked down the street, picked up a rhubarb tart from a coffee shop, wandered back home, and promptly jumped back into the thick of things.

One of the things that I learned when I changed my process to writing first draft by hand is that I can slow down, take my time, relish the words and the emotions. I tend to get too excited, and I go too fast and I miss things. My second drafts are generally 10% longer than my first drafts.

So I slowed down and I took my time once I got started again. Instead of the first scene being 500 words it was 1000. I’m done for the day, much to my amusement. I thought it would take me a while to work up to writing 1000 words in a sitting. Though I guess this was kind of two sittings. But there it is, all those lovely words. I’m still at that phase where I adore each and every sentence that I write. It won’t last, it shouldn’t last. But it is good while it does last.

I’m only going to try for 500 words every time I sit down to write. Doing more today was good, but I don’t want to strain myself. If I can maintain this level without burning out, that’s fine, but 500 has been my limit before. I think it’s just been so long since I’ve written like this the words are bursting to come out. This isn’t a sprint, however, it’s a marathon. I know I can maintain writing a chapter a week (5000-6000 words — 500 words per day during the week then 2000-3000 per day on the weekend.)

It feels a little silly to post a word count meter when I only have 1% of the novel finished. But still. Have to start somewhere.

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