Six months ago, I set myself the target of finishing my novel by Christmas. The first draft at least. Have I achieved that?
Achieving a goal like that is only possible if life doesn’t get in the way and nothing is interfering with your time. I would say a Masters and a part-time job do a darn good job of interrupting with writing time, wouldn’t you?
And there is a but here…
But I think progress is going well! Out of all of my categories on my to-do list, the novel section is the only one currently clear.
I set myself the target of working on it for two hours a week. If I can’t find two hours, then I have bigger problems to worry about.
This tends to take the form of half an hour Monday-Thursday. Two of those sessions involve me sitting on a train commuting to university, but I am still editing and writing. The other two sessions, I must admit, involve me sitting in bed.
I am currently reaching the end of a chapter. Although this is only the first draft of this chapter, I will have completed it in around a month. I know it is quality not quantity and all that jazz, but that is the fastest I’ve completed one for a long time.
The more I write, the more the ideas flow and this is definitely the case here. I started the chapter not entirely sure what was going to happen and now I have introduced a new character, dealt with some fears and emotions for my main character and have everyone ready to take the next step. That feels like a successful chapter to me!
I am also currently doing a thorough edit on the previous chapter. This doesn’t just involve correcting grammar etc, but using one of Stephen King’s tips that I learnt while at university the first time – cut 10% out. It’s a great way of forcing you to tighten up your word count – writing practice that is useful in all walks of life, not just novel writing.
But never mind editing or writing. The main difference I have noticed this month is that I am genuinely having fun with it. Of course, it is hard work and at times makes me want to cry.
There have also been times where my own characters have cracked me up or I’ve got the giggles over the way a conversation is playing out.
That is how I know I am making progress. I love working on the novel – at the moment, it is my break from uni stress and work exhaustion – and a real form of escapism.
Maybe I won’t have the first draft done by Christmas (although I do have a long break over January from uni, hmm…) but I am pleased with my progress and excited to see where the characters take me next.
Do any of you write or completing nanowrimo this year? How is it going?