Essay – Writing Milestone Novel 60

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my sixtieth novel.



That’s also my age at this point. As many novels as I have years of life.

As I’m writing this after that milestone, I’m already planning novel number sixty-one. I plan on finishing two novels this year, which will bring the total up to sixty-two, plus an additional six to eight books in 2023, which will mean between sixty-eight to seventy novels by the end of next year.

That number is mind-boggling, to be frank.

When I was a beginning writer, I don’t believe that I ever really thought about what it meant to be a long-term career writer. It wasn’t a lack of imagination, per se, so much as a lack of information about what it meant to be doing this after so many years.

I’ve written before about writing so many novels, and what that process is like. (Finishing my 49th Novel.) I went back and read that this morning. There isn’t anything I’d disagree with. I’m still doing a combination of plotting things out as well as writing into the darkness.

For the most recent book, I thought about it a lot before I wrote a single word. I figured out most of the characters before I started, as well as the basic plot arch of the five books. I even wrote the blurb for the first book before I started the book, though that may turn out to be the series blurb and not the first book blurb. Since the main character races spaceships, I watched interviews of car racers, trying to get the attitude.

The next book is the second book in an urban fantasy series. In preparation, I went through book one to get the characters, the setting, and the problems in my head. Then I came up with a vague plot that I’m having a blast following.

Then it’ll be the next mystery story. For those, I generally need to know not only who died but who killed them before I start.

Then back and writing book two in the SF series.

And so on.

And that’s my life, as a long-term, professional writer. It isn’t necessarily glamorous. Though I never say that I have to write, that writing is a job, at the end of the day, it still is. I still need to produce words so that I’ll have books to sell.

People to entertain.

But my attitude is that I have stories to tell. Too many stories. I don’t think I’ll ever run out.

I generally write one or two short stories between the novels as palette cleansers. They’re also generally stories that are due, as it were, to some project or another. The last two were for MCM, my mystery magazine, as well as for Uncollected Anthology.

As always, I employ what I call the giggle test before I start writing something. Even though I might have my schedule of what I think I’m going to write, writer brain may or may not choose to follow it. This is one of the reasons why the publishing schedule is always written in pencil.

I hope that I can follow my schedule, at least for now. I have some exciting things planned, and I’d like to do some Kickstarters to launch some of these series.

We’ll see.

In the meanwhile, I write. And that’s always been my definition of a writer.

A writer writes.

Not everyone needs to reach sixty novels. They just need to keep putting down more words, every day.

Because those words do add up. And who knows? Maybe you’ll surprise yourself with your accumulated total.

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