Back in 2005, when I wrote the first draft of what eventually became my first novel, Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo, I didn't really think I could do it. I just started writing, since my husband was away for a month and I was bored, and decided to see what would happen.
Clearly, it worked out. :)
Now, I am comfortable writing 3-4 hours a day ('writing' in this context can mean new words or editing existing ones). Am I satisfied with this? Of course not. I am happy that I've reached this point, but I want more.
If I can write a first draft in two months, can I take it down to 1.5 without reducing the quality of the work? If it took me two months to edit Raoul (now officially named Go Small or Go Home) can that be reduced to 1.5 months instead? Or even just 7 weeks?
I think it can. I see the amount of time I waste daily. I do not think I can write for eight hours a day, at least not yet, because after about three I feel the back of my brain panting with exertion. (If you've ever written a three-hour exam and come out with the back of your head feeling sort of stunned, that's how I feel after a long writing session.)
However, I do think I could get to four hours on a consistent basis. And once there, could I get to five?
It's not a race. Most definitely, the quality is what matters to me. My second book is better than my first, and Raoul is better than the second. My fourth (as yet unstarted, but codenamed Aardvark because, come on, what a great word!) will be even better. This matters to me.
But if I can increase the speed and keep the quality improving too, where's the harm?
I'm thinking of all this today, oddly, because I'm thinking about my exercise schedule. Some people are content to go to the gym for the sake of going. I am not. I need to be getting better. I am heavier than I want to be, but I'm strong and fit underneath it. (And I'm not just saying that - I have three half marathons, one full marathon, two 10-mile races, and two 5K open water swims to say it for me.)
I haven't been going to the gym, and I've just realized why: no goals. I need to either be aiming to get faster or aiming to go longer. And I do NOT want to go longer. (Yeesh.) So faster it is.
I wonder if getting to be a faster runner will also speed up my writing. Can't hurt, right?
(As is no doubt apparent, my brain's still a little bit "ooh, shiny... ooh, let's go over here and-- wait, is that a rabbit? Hey, I want to write about-- no, wait" at the moment. That's Raoul for you. :)