Back in 2013 I completed one of the largest projects I’d tackled to date and decided to work out what I’d actually managed to produce during four months developing a complex business application. I realised then that I’d actually produced the equivalent of a book with all the code, queries and user documentation I’d written. That realisation was pivotal in helping me believe I could finish my first novel.
Last week I completed a much smaller project, one that only took 17 days and decided to carry out the same analysis.
The final application had:
- 12 user forms, each providing a different type of functionality to the users.
- 3635 lines of code.
- 13 database tables
- 57 SQL queries.
- 28 user guide.
Converting those lines of code into pages, that’s 95 pages, plus effectively 57 pages for the SQL queries and the 28 page user guide. A total of 180 pages, not including the forms or database design. 180 pages equivalent, after editing and testing… A proof read, formatted, final draft…
Divided by number of days on the project, that works out to just over ten pages a day, full time. So, in theory, if I could match that level of output for my fiction writing, I could potentially write a 300 page novel in 30 working days, or in six weeks.
Writing that last sentence, I still find it hard to believe that it’s possible. But, it’s worth noting that I’ve been working as a software developer for 13 years now. Enough time to have honed my skills, to have learned the methods and routines that allow me to tackle complex projects.
If we keep working towards developing our skills and experience in areas we want to improve, we will see progress. Often, there is no substitute for perseverance. For taking the long road, building discipline and habits. This is part of the reason I’ve set myself the challenge of writing at least 100 words a day for 100 days.
What goals do you want to achieve? What skills will you need to achieve them? Will you commit to developing those skills, day in and out? If you do, one day you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come.