Tales from the Oubliette: Full time writer, one month in…

This is what my oubliette looks like… No, seriously. I’m not just sitting in my living room writing my book most days, or taking the laptop to bed…

So, it’s been a month since I got my grant. A month of being a full time writer. This has been a completely new experience for me: I’m used to holding down at least three contracts at once, working on my PhD and cramming my writing in on the side. So to have time… Well, it’s been awesome and also a challenge.

The first week of January was a complete write-off. I wrote about four versions of the book’s first chapter, all of which totally sucked, until I finally managed to come up with something I could live with. Some days I’ve achieved as little as 300 words, other days I’ve done over 2,500. I’ve tried to keep the weekends free, but have wound up writing on most days regardless.

All told, this month (well, three weeks) has earned me 26,971 words and The Familiar is well under way! If I can maintain my tortoise pace and make myself comfortable in my gorgeous oubliette, I should have a first draft by May/June… which will give me a couple MUCH NEEDED months to rewrite, edit, delete any crap I’ve written thus far. This, too, is a new experience. I’m used to working on short stories. Agonising over every word. Getting every sentence, paragraph, scene just right before moving on so that, basically, the first draft is pretty much the final draft.

That is so not happening with this book, let me tell you.

Nevertheless, January = 26,971 words.

Woo hoo!

Let’s hope things keep clipping along like this in February!



  1. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you, dear lady, and wish you all the best with your full-time writing career. Here is to a never go back to three contracts at once!
    I am looking forward to your works πŸ™‚

  2. Congratulations on the passing of your first month and 30K is a good monthly number. When I am writing first drafts I aim for a minimum of 1000 words a day. How does it feel to be writing a novel for a change? By the way, if you need an extra pair of eyes at any stage, I would be happy to help.

    I have to sit down, now that the exams are over and have a look through my manuscript.

    1. Writing a novel feels completely different! Great: because I can tease the story out, add extra twists, play with a larger cast of characters. Daunting: because the first draft is so rough, the end is nowhere in sight, and it’s impossible to plan the whole thing the way you can with a short story. But mostly, it’s fun! I’m aiming for about 1,500 words a day. Some days the count will be higher, others it will be lower. It’ll all balance out in the end. And I’ll definitely keep your offer of eyes in mind, thank you! It’ll take several months for it to be fit for reading, but I’ll drop you a line when it is. Thanks, Harry! πŸ™‚

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