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.
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.