Novel Plotting

            When I first started planning out my novel, I tried plotting with an upward trajectory, following the classic Cinderella “rags to riches” model. I felt like I had a pretty good start. I had events, details, and clothing. I started in on character sketches and other forms of plotting until a friend finally told me to just start writing. This was great advice and now, I’m 40 pages into the rough draft. Unfortunately, with 4 chapters written, I’m stuck. I don’t know what happens next. Looks like it’s time to start plotting again.

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Stop. Start.

It is amazing to me how easy it is to get stopped. And how starting again never gets any easier, no matter how many times I do it. Last week I caught a cold and I stopped writing. It wasn’t until after I started writing again that I realized I’d felt as awful as I had as much because of the lack of writing as because of the cold. And I made it worse by thinking things like, “If I were a real writer, I wouldn’t let this stupid cold stop me. I’d write no matter how sick I was.”
            One of the tasks I’ve assigned myself as part of my seminar is to write 2-3 pages of my novel per day. Some days I write more than three pages. Some days I don’t write at all.
            Yesterday was one of those days. It was a Friday. I babysat for eight hours (a full work day) and then I went out. I saw friends I haven’t seen in months, and I had a great time. I knew as I was leaving my house that it was going to be one of those days. I considered not going out. Missing social events in order to write is something I’m familiar with. I don’t regret going, but I do regret not writing. I spent this morning devolving into thoughts of, “I’ve broken a promise to myself” and “How will I ever become a successful writer if I can’t even write every day?” Which makes it that much harder to begin again, of course.
            I have to take a deep breath, let it go, and jump back in. I have to recognize the awesome parts of setting such goals, even if I don’t always meet them. Because of my 2-3 pages per day idea, I now have 30 pages of my rough draft. Thirty will turn into 40 will turn into 50 will turn into 100, and soon enough I’ll have 250 – 300 pages. Before I know it, I’ll have a finished rough draft.