Now that I've had time to ruminate on my big declaration, I'm thinking I need a solid game plan if I'm going to succeed. Really Big Goals, and I think this qualifies, are more palatable when broken down into smaller bites.
I could go by word count: 44K so far, about 100K projected for a contemporary fantasy novel, meaning I'd have to produce 5500 words/month to reach my goal. I'm not crazy about this benchmark method. I could write 400 words in a good day (please stop laughing), and then realize the next day those 400 words sucked and have to start over. Or, I could be faithful to 5500 words/month for the whole year and hit 100K on December 31st without reaching the end of my story, i.e. Epic Fail on my non-resolution (because I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions) to finish the draft of my book.
(Keep in mind this is a first draft, so if it comes out with a slightly bloated word count, that's okay. Once it's finished, I can fix that along with the host of other problems I'm sure it will have. I just need something to work with first.) (Not to mention that 5500 words/month sounds deceptively, disgustingly simple and easy when paired with my average 400 words/good day. And I know it can't be that easy. Never has been, never will be.)
Instead, I'm going to track my progress based on my outline. Oh yes, I have an outline. I know the beginning and the end and most of the stuff that happens in between and the people it happens to. Based on said outline, I'm about a quarter of the way through the story in my written manuscript at this point. To make myself more accountable, I'll be checking in regularly with an update on my progress. Monthly updates might get annoying, but I think quarterly reports are doable. So, three quarters of story to go and a year to get them done. That leaves one quarter per, um, quarter, with ample wiggle room for catching up and/or freaking out.
And that's The Plan - detailed enough to give me some semblance of control over the next year and keep Fangxiety at bay without crossing over into crazy-making micromanagement territory. I'll see you back here on March 28th with my first report. We now return to your regularly scheduled Gnome Slaying.