Tuesday 13 May 2014

Bit by bit, day by day

I still can’t quite believe Jenn Ashworth didn’t pick me as a mentee for the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme – grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr - but at least the process wasn’t completely in vain. In my rather last minute application I had to outline how I would make best use of the year on the scheme if I was selected. I decided that with the encouragement of a mentor I could finish the first draft of my current novel in that year and devote the week-long retreat at the end of it to rewriting and editing. At the time, the novel stood at 30,000 words and 90,000 seemed like a nice number to aim for – it divides nicely into 3 - the beginning, the middle and the end. I then broke down the 60,000 yet to be written words into months, weeks and days to see how much I needed to write every day to achieve this goal. It would mean writing 5000 words a month, 1250 words a week, 178.5142 words a day: Completely achievable with dedication and encouragement, yes?
Then of course I realised I didn’t need to wait and see if my application was successful, I could just crack on with the deliciously bite sized pieces of writing each day. I’m sure that the more prolific writers out there will scoff at the measly 178.5142 words I aim for everyday (I have rounded it up to 179) but for me it’s actually working. It’s an amount that doesn’t overwhelm when there are lots of other things to be squeezed in to the evening. It’s an amount that, even when multiplied a couple of times to compensate for the off days when even that tiny number isn’t possible, still doesn’t overwhelm. And the nice thing is that once the minimum word quota is done for the day, it’s so much easier to keep on going.
Of course I’m still sorry I didn’t get picked for the Jerwood/Arvon mentoring scheme, but I’m not sorry I made the application. So far, so good: 53,000 words and counting.  
Obsessed with word-count, me?


  1. Rebecca, I'm so glad I saw this - do get in touch with Joanne Phillips, @joannegphillips - she's looking for 2 new authors to mentor. Definitely worth looking at - she's done massively well (I remember when she published her first, about 2 years ago, and was pleased when she'd sold 100 books!!!), and is very nice!

  2. Thank you so much, that's really helpful!