A Novel in 3 Months (week 12) – fail (well, just a little)

watching: 27 Dresses
reading: Hunger by Michael Grant
listening to: Vacation Rain by Sister Hazel

So it’s crunch time this week.  Three months – 12 weeks – is up tomorrow.  And I have to say, the question I put to my writing demon (let’s call him Steve):  “hmm… wonder if I can write a whole book in three months?” ended up with him laughing in my face, then yelling, “No!  Hah, what were you thinking?”

As I look at the pages, I find I have 28K (give or take) to go.  Wait, really?  Yep.  I’m close to half-way there in terms of actual words on the screen.

Which is interesting.  So like every goal not achieved, I take a look at three important things:

1. what did I do right?

I had a basic plot mapped out.  I fleshed out my character sheets to give my story direction.  And I had a time frame and deadline (very important if you want to achieve a goal!)  I wasn’t besieged with days of flu (unlike my last book!), or weeks of precautionary swine flu quarantine or my son’s chicken pox, colds and some expert acting from ‘muscle pains’ that mysteriously disappeared around 10am.

2. what did I learn?

I learned – again – that because I didn’t have my writing time blocked out (visually, on my calendar),  I got easily distracted (duh).  Surfing, blog posts,  website tinkering, research that spiraled into hours of aimless wandering through unrelated websites.   I didn’t close my office door so walk-pasts from family members were inevitable.  I also made a few appointments that could have easily been done on the weekends instead (when I don’t write).

I also learned I’m more of a flimmer than I thought.  Elements of the story have come to me while I’ve been plotting (also known as “staring at the wall and daydreaming”) which is a very flimmer-like quality.

3. what can I do differently?

I need to ensure I keep my visual calendar up-to-date, regularly update my complete word count (which gives me a confidence boost every time it increases!).  I need to say no to non-essential P&C/PTA school activities.  I need to close my office door 😀

The story beginning, some turning points and the end started complete in my head.  But it’s the getting them down which is the problem.   And I think to do that, I really have to make a mental decision to commit to the story instead of letting myself being distracted by external factors.  This can be a major problem, because being an author isn’t a ‘normal’ job.  You don’t dress for the office, commute, put in your 7+ hours, then drop everything and go home.  You’re switched on 24-7.  The stories are always there in your head, clamoring for attention, demanding to be written.  You think about your characters in the supermarket isle, you toss over plot scenarios while you’re at the gym, you go over GMC as you eat dinner.  Everything you read, watch or witness has the potential to be part of a story and that can get tiring after a while.  And even when you go to bed, you dream up stuff  (I’ve had the best story ideas asleep!)

Okay, so it isn’t all doom and gloom.  I deliberately gave myself a month’s leeway from my actual book deadline, so I still have (studies calendar closely…) a good 20 days to write 28K.  That’s roughly (calculates)… 1400 words a day, just under 6 pages a day.  Can be done.  Well, has to be done 😛

How did all of you go?  Any insights?  Any major setbacks?  Post here, let me know how you went and you could win  Getting The Words Right: How to rewrite, edit and revise (Writers Digest) by Theodore Cheney.  I’ll draw a random poster on Sunday May 2nd the 7th (Friday)!


11 comments on “A Novel in 3 Months (week 12) – fail (well, just a little)

  1. Paula, I have zealously followed you every word, and for the first month even followed through. But then, like you, other things got in the way. I felt a bit disappointed in myself because I had been determined to complete the 3 months with a draft. So your post actually made me feel better (sorry – I’m sure it wasn’t supposed to).

    I learnt heaps from your weekly posts and am going to keep following the process – who knows, eventually I may do it in 3 months!

    As for my wip… June 50k in 30 days is fast approaching. I’m all plotted and ready, so maybe I’ll get there then.

    Thanks heaps Paula – see you at conference!!

  2. At least you started with the right intention, so that’s still pretty awesome, Anita! My draft is still in my head and missing a few scenes but I do know what needs to be done. Which is to write 😀

  3. Paula, I can’t thank you enough for your posts over the past 3 months, you have helped me so much. Now while I’m only 10k into my contemporary story and 20k into my historical (will finish them during 50/30) I know at the end I will have a much better first drafts.

    Thanks again

  4. Oh Paula, make me feel bad!!! LOL. I’ve literally just sent off my next novel, which has taken FOREVER to write, and thought I’d catch up on some of my fave blogs… and when I get to yours what do I see? A novel in 3-months!!!!

    Hope to see you at the ARRA dinner.
    Jane Tara

  5. arrgghh Jane! But hey, you can catch up on all the back posts and use it for the next one 😀

    Really, really wish I could be at the dinner – and me a double-finalist! – but I can’t 😥

  6. And so, the lucky prizewinner! Congrats to Anita, who wins a copy of Writers Digest book, Getting The Words Right. Email me with your address, Anita, and I’ll get it off to you asap.

    And remember, I’ll have my usual ‘writers goodies’ for our annual RWA conference charity raffle on 15 August, plus a special Down Under Desirabelles goody bag PLUS an awesome Outback Billionaires and Babies pack! This year it’s for ovarian cancer – so come and give to this very good cause.

  7. Thanks heaps, Paula. How exciting 🙂 Will email you straight away.

    Was just in a meeting organising the charity raffle and came out to see this Must second Paula and recommend everyone coming to conference start saving because as you can tell from Paula’s contributions – there are going to be lots of goodies on offer and it’s all going to a fantastic cause.

  8. Unless I’m insane (well, okay, insane-er) you changed your layout since the last time I peeked (a few hours ago)

    Me like!

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