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Books are Written One Word at a Time

Say hello to this week’s guest blogger, Kimberly Packard…

All writers have had a similar version of a dream.

It starts when your eyes flutter open when the sun kisses your face. You stretch and sit up and grab your journal, because you dreamt of the perfect plot point for the story you’re working on. After your dream journaling, you head into the kitchen where the most perfect pot of coffee is waiting (a girl can dream, right?). You have a lovely breakfast, and then settle in for your writing session. The words flow more beautifully than Fabio’s mane.

Then suddenly, there’s a screeching noise. You jump out of bed and step in something you’d rather not see in the daylight and hop to your desk to pound out words before the rest of the world realizes you’re awake.

Yep. That’s the reality that most authors live in.

While we all strive for that day when we can luxuriate in our craft, that, my friends, is still a ways off.

Some days, the Muse is our BFF, other days, she’s the mean girl from history class. But we can’t hide from her, we can’t stare at a blank page waiting for the perfect word. Nope, we are working writers (emphasis on the “working”).

They say we have to write every day if we’re really going to make a career of this. But they didn’t say how much we have to write every day.

I admit that it’s taken me a while to learn to practice what I preach, and I still struggle with it. When I wrote my first novel, I did so mostly on the weekends. And the production time showed that. By the time I got to my third novel, I’d figured out a process.

500 words a day. No. Matter. What.

Scrivener has a handy-dandy daily word goal tool. If you use this program, set your goal and watch it tick down. (Note to Scrivener developers: Can you add balloons and sparkles for this feature in the next update? You know, for those of us who are confetti-motivated).

Some days, I flew past this goal. Other days I counted every dang word until I hit it. But it worked. I had that first draft done in five months.

Then I started a new novel, one that is tougher to write. Couple that with a new boss and new responsibilities at the day job and those 500 words were like drawing water from an empty well.

Then I remembered: write something every day. Even if it’s just 100 words.

Goal adjusted.

Am I perfect at hitting it? Heck no. But I try, and on the days when I’m just too spent to write, I’ll spend time on marketing, or some other writerly task (sharpening pencils gives you great satisfaction).

Writers write. Some days more than others. The key is to remember that some days we just need to put one word in front of the other (okay, technically behind it).

And that is perfectly okay.

 

About Kimberly

Kimberly Packard is an award-winning author of edgy women’s fiction. She began visiting her spot on the shelves at libraries and bookstores at a young age, gazing between the Os and the Qs. Kimberly received a degree in journalism from the University of North Texas, and has worked in public relations and communications for nearly 20 years.

When she isn’t writing, she can be found running, doing a poor imitation of yoga or curled up with a book. She resides in Texas with her husband Colby, a clever cat named Oliver and a yellow lab named Charlie.

Her debut novel, Phoenix, was awarded as Best General Fiction of 2013 by the Texas Association of Authors. Other published works by Kimberly includes a Christmas novella, The Crazy Yates, and the sequels to Phoenix, Pardon Falls and Prospera Pass, and her stand-alone title, Vortex. She was honored as one of the Top 10 Haute Young Authors by Southern Methodist University in 2019.

Follow Kimberly online at www.kimberlypackard.com, Twitter or Instagram @kimberlypackard, or Facebook, www.facebook.com/kimberlypackardauthor.

 

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