Writing is hard. I’m about three quarters of the way through the first draft of my first novel, but I’ve been stalled there for at least four months. There are plenty of excuses—life, work, holidays, etc. all get in the way. I often tell myself that I need a big block of hours in order to reacquaint myself with where I left off, but when I do find that elusive chunk of time I inevitably tinker with what’s already there and maybe get a few new sentences or paragraphs on the page.
The thing is, I know I can do it. The proof is there in tens of thousands of words I’ve already written. So what’s the problem?
Some days the problem truly is a lack of time. Some days it’s that I haven’t given myself enough down time and I need to put away all devices with screens before I lose my mind. But most of the time, I think it’s fear of actually finishing this thing that I’ve been carrying with me, and thinking about, and talking about for a few years now. Once I’m finished (and by finished I only mean a complete first draft which really will in no way be finished) this thing will exist in the world and I will want to do something about it, do something with it, probably even let other people read it. That. Is. Terrifying.
Terror of completion aside, the tinkering to avoid writing the rest is a real issue. If I haven’t touched the piece for days then I really do need to go back and read at least the last few pages. I recently lamented about this to a friend of mine and he suggested two things that I will put into practice this year. The first is commit to writing at least one hour almost every day so that I don’t have to spend so much time re-reading. The second is to designate one of those hours for tinkering since that is obviously part of my process. So simple and yet so (hopefully) brilliant.
I’ve had a successful trial run, but the real test will be this coming week when I’m back at work, going to the gym, taking on other projects, worrying about the state of the world and wondering if there is any point to doing anything since it’s all a disaster, etc.
One hour of writing almost every day. Achievable, yes?