Eventually, a novel

For all the writers out there who made big writing plans this summer and haven’t achieved them (yet!?) I send a message of love and encouragement and a porcupine video:

My Particular Plan and its Current Status

I had high (but knowingly unrealistic) hopes that I could finish drafting the second half of my novel in May. I made the goal to write 25,000 words. By the end of May I had only written 15,000. Today, six weeks late, I made my 25,000 word goal. Now I’m realizing I need another 10,000 or so to really finish the whole draft. Right now, there’s a gaping hole in Part III.

Incentives to Keep Going

  • Writing friends. Danielle LaVaque-MantyJennifer Solheim, and David Ward! If I didn’t have trusted, amazing writing friends to share work, gossip, and drink, my writing would be much crappier. I know this because I wrote my first “novel” in isolation. By the time I realized I needed to share it with a real audience and went to some writing conferences with it, it was beyond help. I put it in a drawer and wrote two books of poetry (with support from the friends above plus several others) before trying another novel.
  • Animal videos. Danielle made up this June writing game where we sent each other an animal video every time we wrote another 1,000 words. At first, I was a little skeptical because I thought it might take too much time and be distracting. NOT TRUE! I’d say at least half of writing productivity this past month was solely to get the brag rights to another animal video. I mean, come on. Danielle and Jenn sent stuff like this: Teddy Bear the Talking Porcupine
  • Bigger rewards. I’m going on a week-long writing retreat with my friends very soon! We rented an awesome cottage in Saugatuck, and I can’t wait to have days to immerse myself sans Mom, job, and house responsibilities. Holy crap, I’d like to leave right now!
  • Biggest rewards. The work itself. I’ve created a whole world and characters that let me explore parts of myself and America that I needed to pay attention to. Writing should be a journey, and this novel has definitely taken me on one.

I hope if you’re in the midst of writing, that you’ll turn back to your work with renewed love and patience, and that you have or allow people into your life that will keep those renewals going.