How many midweek updates will I have to post before we get to the one where I tell you there won’t be any more midweek updates about this book, because it’s done?
I’ve been asking myself that a lot this past week. Not because I don’t enjoy updating you on my progress (I do, most of the time) but because I’m losing patience and motivation and, yes, even confidence.
Ironically, I’ve written more in the past week than I have in the past three months. It’s very easy to set a general daily goal of “write some,” write a paragraph or maybe even just a few sentences and move on to something else “more important.”
At least now, with Camp NaNo and a word count goal (my daily average is a little over 500 words) I’m getting somewhere.
But not fast enough, my head says. Not nearly fast enough.
I know there’s no rush, and if I continue on with this daily word count, I won’t have any problems finishing by the end of the year. That’s my goal: to finish the first draft of this novel by the end of the year.
Why? Because it’s been too long. I first had this flicker of an idea over three years ago now. I’m coming up with other ideas. I’m not bored, I’m just ready to be done, to move on to the revisions stage, to see if it’s worth searching for an agent yet. To evaluate how much more work it needs before I might be able to get excited about publishing it someday.
The pieces are coming together slowly; they always do. I know all the surprises and some of the twists. I know I need to connect the dots and fill in the holes and bulk up the action sequences. It’s not going to be a super long book; honestly, I’m guessing I’m probably about halfway done at around 30,000 words (I don’t know exactly; there are some things I already know I need to take out and just haven’t yet). A book doesn’t need to be long to be good. But I’m struggling. I’m not used to it.
It’s really different, writing a book as an adult, compared to writing a book as a teenager. I’m still a “young” adult, but I’m out of college and I’m trying to find a job and I’m well aware of the fact that writing alone can’t support me right now. At the same time, I’m in graduate school so I can eventually get a really good job so I don’t have to worry quite as much about money and can still afford to write for fun.
There’s not as much time, and definitely not as much motivation, as there used to be.
In high school, writing was all I wanted and it was basically all I knew. So spending hours upon hours writing books was like a no-brainer, I guess. I was going to make a living doing this someday! Of course I was! No! Because now I would love to be able to spend all that time writing, but I can’t. I have a magazine to manage and a full-time job to find and classes to pass and tuition to pay. I literally could never afford not to live with my parents right now. Actually, I guess I could look at it as, I live with my parents so I can afford to spend a few hours a day blogging and working on my book.
It’s not going to get any easier. I know that. As I’ve “grown up” I’ve realized how easy it is to have faith in the promises of your ideas when you’re younger. When you’re older, so much gets in the way.
I’m a good writer, but I’m not great. That pretty much means I’m always going to have to work to support myself, aside from writing, if I ever even get paid for doing that as a side gig. I’ve accepted that. I’m sure my future spouse will learn to accept that, too, wherever he’s hiding (ha). I’m one of those people who does eventually want a family, and a decent career and the luxury to be able to write and enjoy it.
That’s pretty much one of those dreams you have to latch onto knowing it may never come true. I know that, too.
Finishing this book will mean a lot to me. Because I know it won’t be the first book I ever publish; it needs a lot of work and I’m still learning. So to me, finishing means I’m one step closer to being able to write something that’s good enough for an agent. With every project you finish, you get a little better, not just with your writing but because you’ve proven to yourself, again, you can finish something and not give up in the middle no matter how many times you’ve wanted to.
This week, I’ve wanted to give up on this book.
But it’s not finished yet. I’ve invested too much time and effort and tears to abandon it now. I’m past the point of no return.
Still, I can’t help wondering when it will end.
This month? Definitely not. I have about 30,000 words to go. I have too many other things going on to be able to crank out that many more words in three weeks.
This year? I really hope so.
What do I keep telling you? The 30,000-word slump EXISTS and I am DEEP IN IT.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.