I gave myself 20 days to do it, and I managed to complete it in 7. What a good feeling! The manuscript came in at 60,744 words, which makes it the longest book in the Milligan Creek Series to date by about 5,000 words. (Snowbound! was the longest book before this.) That word count is certain to change as I begin the revision process, though which direction it will go won't be clear until I have a chance to read the entire manuscript through from start to finish, which I plan to do tomorrow. That'll show me where it's running long, where I haven't explained things thoroughly enough, and so on. However, I'm hoping that when all is said and done, it'll come in about 1,000 words shorter than it is right now.
Meanwhile, it's time to step away from the computer and celebrate this milestone--starting by showering and eating lunch (I'm still in my pajamas because I didn't want to break my momentum). I like to joke that being an author involves days and nights of misery punctuated by brief moments of despair--and then something really bad happens. So, as difficult as writing is, when something good happens, such as completing a draft, celebrating is not an option. This is my seventh novel in the last five years, which feels like an amazing achievement considering I mostly write these books in my spare time. Hopefully it inspires other aspiring writers out there to go for it. You don't know what you're capable of until you try.
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