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