24-Second ClockMay 27, 2006
In professional basketball, there is 24-second clock that forces you to shoot the ball within 24-seconds or lose possession. There's always a great moment at the end of a close game when a team has the ball with less than 24 seconds left. The announcer will inevitably mention that "the 24-second clock has been turned off" as its now irrelevant to what's happening on the court.
I realized today that I have arrived at that point with the book. For the past nine months, I have had one goal in mind: write 50,000 words. Months into the process, it became clear that there was more material than I thought and the goal was increased to 60,000 words. In the past week, I've passed 55,000 words with a few chapters left to finalize, which brings me to today.
It occurred to me for the first time that my goal is no longer a number, but simply finishing. I honestly don't need to write any more words, except for the minor fact that it's not done yet. I can cut paragraphs at will and settle for a short chapter or two. It's a totally different way to look at writing. My 24-second clock has been turned off!
With the deadline just a week away, I've started to get a few more questions about the writing process. I'm starting to put together a list of the lessons I've learned over these months. It's truly been a fascinating experience, filled with many emotional highs and lows. I hope to have that post ready in a couple of weeks.