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How to Write a Novel in Six Months, Week 19 Drafting Update: Surviving Interruption

Updated on December 3, 2008

I skipped a week of updating on my progress but I assure you I continued to write! Although I took three days off for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wrote straight through the other days. In fact, I even amped up my writing schedule so I’ll [cross fingers] finish a week earlier than expected. The theme of this week is overcoming interruptions!

Taking a Hard Look at the Calendar

This is an exciting year for me with family in for Thanksgiving, a trip at Christmas, and another to visit family just after New Years. Sure it’s the holidays, but every writer is going to run up against interruptions and obstacles any time of year. Our success is dependent on how we react to those challenges and how badly we want to see our work to completion.

That said, I had wanted to finish my rough draft by Christmas. I chose the date somewhat arbitrarily, based on starting when the kids went back to school. But it has worked out well. I have come to think of my complete first draft as my gift to myself. However, we decided to go away for Christmas this year. Combine that with having family in for Thanksgiving and I was going to lose about eight days of writing. I adjusted my end date to early January. That would be my absolute drop dead date. But when I looked at it on the calendar it didn’t make sense. I would be so close to the end, then take a week off only to come back to a week’s worth of work?

I made some quick calculations and realized that if I increased my output by only one page a day and worked straight through with no weekends off I could finish before we left for Christmas – nearly a week ahead of schedule! Instead of thinking in terms of weeks (of which there are only just over two left!!!) I started to work in terms of days. There is a post-it note on the bulletin board across from my desk at this moment, the number 17 written on it in thick, black marker. It’s a countdown baby!

Fooling Myself

I have to admit, some days don’t go as well as others. If you’re a writer reading this, you understand. If you’re a wannabe writer like I was a few years ago, you may be reading this thinking ‘oh yeah she’s just saying that’. No, I’m not just saying that. None of us ever just say that. The writing is often very, very bad.

Yesterday, the writing wasn’t really bad, but I just wanted to be done. I needed two more pages. Can you guess what I did instead of write those two more pages? I added a line to the white space between each of my section breaks! Ridiculous I know. But in a way, not any more ridiculous than my arbitrary page count quotas.

So there you have it – we writers are all a little nutty. Welcome to the club!

How to Write a Novel in Six Months, One Writer’s Journey

Week 1, Mapping Out the Six Month Plan

Week 2, Resources on Structure

Week 3, Index Cards Are My Friends

Week 4, Sketching Characters

Week 5, Researching Agents

Week 6, Outlining

Week 7, Detail Scene Beats

Week 8, Writing the Synopsis

Week 9, Drafting Update

Week 10 Drafting Update

Week 11 Drafting Update

Week 12 Drafting Update

Week 13 Drafting Update: Writer’s Block Week 14 Drafting Update: Appreciating Plot and an Awful First Draft

Week 15 Drafting Update: Formulas and White Space

Week 16 Drafting Update: Looking for an Agent

Week 17 Drafting Update: Confessing I Didn’t Write This Week

Week 18 Drafting Update: Plugging Along

Week 19 Drafting Update: Surviving Interruption




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  • profile image

    C. Ramsdell 7 years ago

    I'm dying to know how this novel turned out? I'm still in my research phase, gathering "my people" -- trusted fellow writer's I know will be harsh when need be -- and books GALORE on outlining. Your hubs are a very valuable resource!

  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Thanks everybody. Writing these Hubs has been part of my success. I'm glad it's helping someone - if only a little.

    Dineane - get off that butt! Oh wait - no that's wrong. To write you need to glue your butt to the chair!

  • dineane profile image

    dineane 9 years ago from North Carolina

    Lela, thanks for this series! This hub in particular helped me get my butt in gear today - I hope you don't mind me quoting and linking to you in my 50th hub.

  • Ray Saunders profile image

    Ray Saunders 9 years ago from Raleigh

    Thanks for this. I plan on writing a novel sometime soon. Looks like I'll have to track back and read your steps from the beginning. Thanks.

  • Tajoodine Sally A profile image

    Tajoodine Sally A 9 years ago from Niger Area

    thanks for sharing this