I was all set to announce that I had reached the 40k word milestone on book four of the Divine Series, Bound. I was pleased with myself for reaching the ALMOST halfway point in the novel.
Then I went back and read some of it.
It wasn't that it was bad, per se. If I gave it out to some of you, you probably would have told me I was an idiot for thinking it needed to go. Except... it was the story I was telling, but not the story I wanted to tell. It felt repetitive, vanilla, and most importantly - it didn't excite me. If I couldn't enjoy writing it, how could you enjoy reading it? Again, maybe you could have. Or maybe you would have felt the same ambivalence I was feeling. Who wants to read a book like that?
I've written three books in the Divine series, and one other besides. I always end up cutting pages, adding pages, etc. I re-wrote an entire chapter in Betrayal, and I rewrote another chapter in Broken four times (I really struggled with that one).
This was the first time I changed direction... completely, and in doing so had to drop nearly 15,000 words. That's two-three weeks of work, and almost half of the total.
Gone. Dead. Buried.
It's hard to massacre your work like that. Yet sometimes it needs to be done. Will it lead to a better book? I sure hope so. I'm certainly enjoying writing it more, so that has to count for something.
The point is, it isn't about the word counts or the release schedule. It's about producing something that you're proud of, and putting every ounce of effort into reaching the level of quality you feel the reader deserves.
Even if it hurts.