The six long weeks of the Clarion Write-a-thon are at last over. I pledged to write five chapters of A Pixie’s Promise over five weeks (I was away on vacation for the first week of the Write-a-thon). So how’d I do?

Well, I didn’t write five chapters. I wrote EIGHT!!! And then some! WOO HOO! I seem to have finally found a sound writing practice, a good rhythm that balances work and life. Creating a plot outline in advance really helped. It kept me moving and knowing what needed to come next, and yet I didn’t feel bound to follow it to the letter. In fact, I added in several subplots and twists along the way. I think this strikes a good balance, using the outline as a substrate on which the story can grow.

On the other hand, I didn’t make my fundraising goal. I’d planned to raise $125, and I was only able to raise $100. Thank you, thank you, to my sponsors, on behalf of Clarion and myself. Honestly, if I’d gotten no pledges, I think I would have lost the will to continue. Also, I promised to match all the donations I raised, so I also donated $100. Thats $200 in scholarship money for the next Clarion class. I feel pretty good about that.

Now the trick is to keep up the writing, and I think I can do that without killing myself or neglecting the other important things in my life, such as my family. In fact, I suspect that I was so successful because I built in time away from writing. I started off the Write-a-thon with a one-week cruise to Bermuda. I refused to write on weekends, because that’s time I spend with my kids. I took another short vacation, five days in Cape Cod, in which the highlight of my trip was two hours lying on the couch watching Property Brothers on HGTV.  Well, and also a fabulous meal at Tumi Ceviche Bar in Hyannis. Once I got back and caught up with all the laundry, I had an incredibly productive three days of writing, and I think it was because I was well rested, mentally and physically.

One other thing: I’ve gotten faster. I used to be happy writing 1000 words/hour. On Thursday, I timed myself, and I’m now writing slightly over 1500 words/hour. This means that I can easily just churn out a chapter in a day while also running the kids to camp and grocery shopping and paying bills and doing laundry and cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen – I actually cleaned out the refrigerator this week! Really!

So I am on track to complete the first draft of A Pixie’s Promise by the end of the month. Then I have four months to revise and polish the manuscript before I hand it in to my publisher. This is a reasonable goal, one I’m confident I can meet, even with all the small ups and downs of life. And that I can keep doing this indefinitely. Life is good.