Making the Dream Happen

Dear Editor…

Just wanted to update you on the progress of my non-fiction book. I decided to write a book about my experiences with a mental illness, which has been the basis of two questions I’ve submitted to you before (one on writing when you have a mental illness and another about word count intimidation).

Well, last week I managed to pass the 40,000-word mark of the first draft. That was important to me because I’ve held that figure of 40,000 to 60,000 words for a Young Adult Novel in my head as the goal I need to work towards. Obviously, I know that fiction is going to be much more difficult than factual content based on my experiences, but before this project, I hadn’t written anything more than five or six thousand words.

I’m currently using a blank document to write anything new so the scale of the main document (running at over 70 single-spaced pages now) doesn’t overwhelm me, and I’m just taking every day as it comes. I still have quite a bit more I want to say, but I take every word as a bonus now and I hope that reaching such a milestone offers hope that I’ll be able to achieve such a word count when I come to tackle my first Young Adult Novel. It still worries me that I won’t though.

Anyway, I just wanted to update you on my progress. I never thought I’d reach 40,000 words, it’s just such a large number. I’m going to keep writing though as if I’m writing on a blank document and I’ll just have to see how high that word count goes, whilst keeping in mind the quality of what I’m writing.



  1. Dear JC-
    I struggle with my writing as well. I am dyslexic, work 10-12 hour days, am a wife and mother of two. Finding time to write is difficult. Sometimes I can only write a few hours a week.
    It has taken me over four years, but I am almost ready to begin submitting my first novel to agents.
    How did I do this?
    Perseverance. I wrote one word at a time, until, eventually, all the words added up to a novel.
    It has been a struggle. Often I wanted to give up. I’ve been plagued with negative thoughts and had dozens of pity-parties where I was the guest of honor.
    Here is my best advice:
    If you love writing- keep putting words in paper. Never, ever, ever give up!
    You are brave.
    What you have to say matters.
    Keep writing because only you can tell your story.

  2. Congratulations! That blank document can be so intimidating, and you’ve conquered it. Keep writing. Clearly, you can do it.

  3. I appreciate the advice and support I’ve had from DearEditor. Writing when you’re ill and struggling with life in general can be impossible sometimes. Faith in myself is in very short supply, which is why I’m grateful for every 500 words and every 1000 words that I’m able to put down on the page. I’ve thought a number of times that I’ve met a problem that means I’ve failed and I can’t progress with the project any further and it’s a horrible feeling. The Editor said in her book that you have to silence your Inner Critic and make it work for you. It just happens that my Inner Critic has a particular strong and forceful voice due to my illness, but I’m just taking each thought each subsequent paragraph as it comes. One day, I hope the noise in my head will quieten enough that I can give life and a voice to my fictional characters and their stories. I will be sure to keep The Editor up to date on any progress I make and thank you again for all your support and advice.

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