The Sticking Point

I’m so close I can taste it. It is the honey on the back of my tongue, the fuel in my belly. I am left with an ache of wanting more.

Okay, that may have been a tad dramatic, but I think you get the point. I’ve been a little on the quiet side here on my blog and to my beloved followers I am sorry for that. But I have a good reason. Promise! I am nearly finished with my first draft of my first real novel.

It’s not the first thing that I’ve written, nor is it even the first thing that I will publish. I have several poems and one (very) short story taking roost in a couple literary magazines. Those, however, were written out of prompts and at the guidance of a creative writing professor. This story, is all me.

I’m excited. It’s just a first draft, filled to the brim with purple prose and run-on sentences. It will be flayed apart with a red pen and stitched back together with hope…and probably flayed again. Exciting, right?

So here’s the thing. I started my novel on the first of August. I have given myself the deadline of September 3oth. That’s eight weeks to write a rough draft, start to finish. A pretty hefty task, but it’s what I set down for myself.

Then, on the Indie Writers FB page I follow, I get a load of this article. To say I was livid does not begin to express my feelings on the matter. I filed this right up there with word count demands.

So the issue, for me, is this. One year I might write four novels in a year. The next year I may write only one. The fact of the matter is I will take as long as I need to write a book. If I am slapped with inspiration and write a story in six weeks, does that make it automatically bad?

I dunno, let’s go look at The Clockwork Orange, or As I Lay Dying, or Casino Royal. These were all stories heralded for their genius and written in six weeks (or less)

Yes, there have been novels that took YEARS to finish. Gone with the Wind took ten years. The Lord of the Rings came out sixteen years after The Hobbit did. The Goldfinch, The Hounds of Morrigan, even The Time Travelers wife (ironically) took forever to get from imagination to publication.

Both are okay!

I guess what I am trying to impart on you is that writing is hard. It’s full of long days and sleepless nights of thinking about the actions of imaginary characters. But, they are written at your speed. If you need to take years to do it, take years. If you can sit down and hammer it out in a month and a half…DO IT. Don’t let some trumped up journalist tell you how long it should take you, how many words you should use, or what you should ignore.

Get down with your bad book self.


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