I need to make that goal a little more specific and focused so that I can't find a loophole around it and write the wrong thing: I intend to write and publish a million words, specifically in the Sacred Breath series. I have written about 250K words so far since January, so I could consider myself 1/4th of the way there, but only 170K of those words have been for the series.
This goal was created when a dear reader of mine told me as she was reading Book #2 that it was the time she spent with the characters which drew her closer to them. To quote her:
"I finally got something I've needed from this story for such a lonnnngggg time. Something finally clicked and it was finally like I went from acquaintances to friends with these characters and started to genuinely care a lot more about how this all panned out for them. I don't think you could've written me to care for them more, I just think it's like how much time you need to get to know a stranger before you are friends with them."
It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Le Petit Prince:
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
He actually wrote "le temps que tu as perdu," which might translate more precisely to the time which you have "lost"-- I love the idea of losing something (indeed, time is perhaps the most valuable thing one can lose) in order to gain, or create love. I have lost and wasted plenty of time in my life, but none of it has been as rewarding or important to me as the time spent reading and writing. Mainly because literature is far more constant than people.
I am willing to "waste" or "lose" all of 2012 on achieving this goal of one million words. Of course, I realize that quantity is not the only important factor, and I will never sacrifice quality for volume. I will not rush, but I will push past every obstacle and be as dedicated and focused as possible.
So, here's to spending lots of quality time with the characters and growing to love them. Knowing that my reader was beginning to connect with the characters, and hearing similar things from several different readers caused me to somehow grow more intimate with the characters as well, and that is why I believe that the writing flowed so easily from that point on. It was just this huge, indescribable, intangible dynamic that I really needed the feedback of another person to verify! It doesn't become real, it doesn't truly exist unless it can be shared.