Beyond Word Counts: How Do You Measure Progress on Your Novel?
NaNoWriMo is a great tool for folks who need to get past the hurdle of getting a large number of words on paper.
But, what if you want to get past the first draft phase? When you undertake the process of revision, tracking progress is harder.
A novel is a major undertaking. For a novice writer making time to write around a day job and a family, it can take years. A writer without an agent or a contract must claim small victories to sustain enthusiasm and commitment through-out the process.
What progress can a novelist celebrate during the process?
- Daily time at work
- A successful scene
- Creation of a timeline/an outline/a map or other support material
- A thematic element repeated throughout the book to create a stream of unity
- A comprehensive plot that holds together
- A complete manuscript sent to beta readers
- Revisions suggested by beta readers incorporated
- Each time a revision is sent out for feedback and comments are responded to
- First time pitching the novel
- Each time pitching the novel
- Each time the manuscript is sent to an editor or agent
- Each rejection letter
- Getting an agent
- Getting a publishing contract
Some of these milestones are not in the writer’s control, but many of them are. Each incremental step forward should be acknowledged, and preferably celebrated. The small steps are what lead to the finish.
Am I missing any milestones that you celebrate? Let me know in the comments.