So, the first draft of the novel was completed as of 2/23/16. Deadline to send it to the developmental editor: 3/6/16. My personal preference? I hate being late, so I generally try to get things in a little early, mostly to reinforce to my latent OCD. So late is not an option.
That meant I had to take the novel from first draft (37K words) to ~45K words – my second stage goal. No, the book is not done yet – not by any stretch – but I wanted it layered enough for the editor to take a look and make revision suggestions before I go back for another rewrite and expand it some more.
Disclaimer: I make no claims as to the quality of the manuscript. Also, no claims as to any expertise other than how dumb I was to attempt something like this in such a short period of time. Making bad choices? I'm a level 11 certified expert.
So. 12 days to revise the book. 160 pages divided by 12 = 13.5 pages/day. Should be easy, right? (Spoiler alert: This scheme doesn’t work well if you have a day job.)
Let’s count those days down and see what happened.
12 days to go: Back at work, trying not to make mistakes because my brain is fogged from 4 solid days of writing. I have a hung-over feeling, minus alcohol the night before. Editing tonight? Bwahahahahaha! NOPE.
11 days to go: After work, barely made it through the first chapter revision, then gave up and stared at TV for an hour, still kind of numb.
10 days to go: Got 2-3 hours of revisions done that night. Still behind on the pages/day. The other problem? IT KEEPS GETTING LONGER. Pages/day calculations get bigger the more I revise. The finish line keeps moving further away.
9 days to go: Friday, yahoo! Uh oh. Sick. Started feeling like death at around 2pm. Finally got the crud after seeing 7,230,102 sick patients this winter. To bed at 7pm.
8 days to go: Boom goes the dynamite! Back from the dead. Re-edited first chapter, then got another 40 pages or so. This took me about 6 hours.
7 days to go: Another 40 pages. Ok, so I’m halfway through the edit, factoring in the fact that the end point continues to move.
6 days to go: Monday. Nuttin’ honey. Worky work and no writing tonight.
5 days to go: 2 hours of editing. Made it to page 90. This is not going well. Beginning to panic.
4 days to go: Driving 5 hours to teach at a medical course. 6pm meeting, got to hotel at 8pm. 3 hours of editing. Late night.
3 days to go: Frantically reviewing notes to teach this obstetrics course since I didn’t prepare a super lot, because…writing. Good news is I taught the course a few years ago, so I can wing it if need be. Editing 1 hour total during breaks in the course, and then another 3 hours in the evening, which made for a very late night.
2 days to go: Have I mentioned panic? I’m only on page 110, and my endpoint is currently 180. While teaching workshops on maternal resuscitation, part of my brain is thinking, Oh my gosh, when will I have time to edit? Drove back 5 hours that evening, the whole way I’m thinking about how much I’d like to be editing. Got home at 8. Managed to squeeze in a few hours of editing before I couldn’t stay awake any more.
1 day to go: Ok, focus. No surfing the internet. No social media. Got up at 7, thanks to the cats. Wrote until 1pm in panic-induced altered state of reality. Made it to “the end” at just under 47K words, and just under 200 pages.
Hit “send” and relaxed. Holy cow.
Bonus list: Things I did not do during the past 3 weeks.
#10) Spend as much “nothing” time talking and hanging out with hubby.
#9) Laundry. (thank you, hubs)
#8) Take call. TBH, there would be zero way I could do that much writing during my 7-10 day call block.
#7) Train for marathon. This is no joke. Ok, here’s what’s obvious: I only have the energy for 2 out of these 3 things: work, write, train for marathon. Work is not optional. Zero energy left over to do 5-8 mile runs. And if I run like that, I can’t stay awake to write late at night. Might need to downgrade to a ½ marathon…
#6) Clean. At the end of this stretch, the scuz in the bathroom had evolved to the point where it developed sentience. And that’s not a good thing. Took care of it with toxic levels of bleach applied with extreme prejudice to all surfaces.
#5) Marketing. I can either write/edit a lot or market. Cannot do both in the time available.
#4) Queries for another book. Nope. Same reason. Literally every spare second was spent writing or editing.
#3) Sleep. Except for the night where I had to sleep off the bubonic plague, my normal nightly sleep time was around 6-7 hours. Dr. Jill does not recommend.
#2) Do fun stuff with hubs. He’s a really understanding guy. It helped that I gave him permission to go ice fishing as much as he wanted during all the weekends.
#1) Think up new book ideas/revise other manuscripts. Are you kidding me?
For more fastdrafting adventures, please check out this more recent 2017 post, which really should be titled "More bad ideas when it comes to trying to write a whole book in a weekend."