It’s amazing how much I can get done, novel-writing wise, when I have the time to sit and work. I’ve been doing tiny little edits in fifteen or twenty-minute stretches lately. That’s what fits between my small press work, which has taken over most of my novel writing and blogging time, and everything else I have to do during the day.
I’ve never had trouble carving out writing time, until now. I have other authors depending on me to edit and publish their work, and there are a million tiny tasks related to each manuscript. It’s hard to justify spending what little free time I have on my characters instead of their characters.
Last month, I attend an Oregon Coast retreat with a few writer friends. I put my head down and wrote (or rewrote) 18,000 words from late Friday afternoon to Sunday mid-morning. I solved a series of story problems that have been plaguing me, keeping me from moving forward. And I realized that in my fifteen minute spurts, I’ve been circling the same passages, writing and rewriting.
While that method helped me get to know my character, and move from my first-draft scaffolding into a richer, more complex second draft, it hasn’t helped me get the book done. And after powering through those 18,000 words, I realized this: I know this story and I will finish it. Maybe not this year. But sometime, likely sooner than I was expecting, now that I’ve reminded myself to move forward and not just keep circling the same little patch of problems. Fixing those is what the third draft is for, yes?