How Does Your Novel Grow?

I think my answer to this is….slowly. The age old preconception that writers sit down at their computers, get ‘in the zone’ and write for hours – no, days on end without food, drink or sleep until the entire perfectly packaged manuscript is complete is far from true. It takes hard work, determination and a near insurmountable amount of self-discipline. Writing a novel is no quick fix, nor is it a one rung ladder to instant success and a lifetime of royalties. It is a hard slog of writing even when you don’t want to, when creativity is severely lacking and when your brain would rather be anywhere but the in the fingers on your keyboard.

I’ve finished one manuscript. I say that but to be true, I finished the first draft, got hooked on another idea and have spent the past three years trying to will myself to complete my new route. The old faded and curled sheets of my paranormal novel lay dustily at the bottom of an old draw, the file on the computer not opened in an age. I open in now and then only to realise that actually, it aint half bad, but knowing my fickle mind I quickly drop it back into oblivion for fear of abandoing the current progressons. But because I got there, because I willed the characters through their 60,000-odd words, I know I can do it again.

And it is now that I attempt the mammoth task of completing the first in a series of science fiction books. My personal deadline was February. I met that well didn’t I! But I am now hooked on 1,000 steadfastly written words a day, whether I feel like it or not, whether the sun shines down or water falls in turbulent torrents. The first draft will be finished by the end of July, it must. For there is one thing worse than never managing to get a manuscript published – never finishing your novel in the first place. So how does my novel grow? Slowly…but surely. What about yours?


3 responses to “How Does Your Novel Grow?

  1. Terrific post. In recent months I’ve been coming to terms with my own slow (methodical? incremental?) process. As much as I need to work on my novel each day, I also need time away from it, so I continue to feel that writing it is a reward, not punishment. I’ve spent three years so far, so I’ve got to enjoy the process.

    I admire you for starting fresh after completing the first draft. That is true revision. Congrats in advance on achieving your goal–I have no doubt you’ll finish the new draft by your July deadline.

    • Hey, its good to know there are other slow, yet steadfast, writers out there like me. I don’t know if I’d admire myself…possibly berate myself for going off on a complete other tangent but the idea in my head simply wouldn’t have worked in the initial setting. So…back to basics. 🙂

  2. My answer is: It doesn’t.

    I haven’t written a word in at least two months, and I’m not even sure if I remember my characters’ names! But I’m going to use you as inspiration and try to reach at least half your goal. Surely I can sit down and push out at least 500 words a day…surely.

    Great post, Geoff! I can’t wait to read your published novel one day!

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