Since the pitching workshop I attended in April, I have been fretting about how long it is taking me to write my first novel. I was told not to mention that I have been working on it for four years now.
I have decided there is nothing wrong with how long it is taking me. Why? Most first novels take around 5-10 years to write. J.K. Rowling took 5 years to write “The Philosopher’s Stone” and 2 years of editing happened before it went to print! For more stats on writing the first novel, I found this article interesting.
During the past four years, WHILE writing my novel, I’ve had karate classes and tests; I suffered through health challenges; I became a Certified Associate of Project Management; I managed many projects; I became a LEAN Green Belt; I switched karate styles; I lived through major home renovations; I struggled through a failing marriage that ultimately had to end; my workplace became overly stressful with job uncertainty; I took a new job in a new city where I hardly knew anyone; I changed martial arts; and I took up roller derby.
I don’t think I’m doing poorly at finishing my first novel. I’m also intending it as the start of a series and every decision I make can have rippling effects upon the rest of the series. I’m not letting that challenge get in the way of my writing, but writing isn’t just the actual act… your brain needs to be involved. You need to constantly think about everything.
While I hope to power through the rest of my novel, I don’t want to finish for the sake of completing it. I want to savor it. I want my readers to enjoy sinking their teeth into it (figuratively speaking, of course). I feel like if I love writing it, it’s more likely that my readers will love reading it. I’m not writing it simply to say, “hey, look what I did.” I’m writing it for other people to enjoy.
When I get blocked, I edit previous chapters. Looking back helps me reconnect with the story and its characters.
I often feel like I will need to go back and do more in-depth character work to round out the text. My method of writing may seem disorganized and chaotic, but I’m pushing forward. Some days I write many words and others I spend with my mind deep in thought on the predicament I’ve placed my characters into.
Not many people finish writing a novel. It’s a long process. I think of it as a marathon rather than a sprint.
This article suggests that the most important quality a writer must have isn’t talent, but stubbornness. I believe I have talent, determination, and just the right amount of insanity to make it as an author.
In life, I find that the best things take time to unfold.