Speed limits

I never feel like I’m writing fast enough.

Even though I’m generally completing my daily 1000-word writing goal, my manuscript is creeping along. This draft is definitely going to be longer than expected, and I doubt it’ll be finished by my original goal of March 31st.

By contrast, Jack Kerouac wrote his first draft of On the Road in 3 weeks. Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in a month. When I consider their work, my competitive and inpatient nature kicks in and I get very frustrated with my slow-and-steady progress. I wonder: if I could hide away in a cottage for a month, could I buckle down and finish the rest of this draft?

Then reality kicks in.

This week, I wrote 4000 words from Monday to Wednesday… and I paid for it with tense shoulders, aching arms and a sore neck. On Thursday, I took a hot bath and an Ibuprofen, then switched to writing standing up at my kitchen counter, but I still had to limit myself to 500 words. It turns out that there are built-in physical limits to my writing capacity; yet another reminder that writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint.

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