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The Confession Chronicles, I

May 3, 2011

“Writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box

so that later I can build castles.”

– ShannonHale via Twitter

Confession: In April, I spent five days working on my novel. As my goal was to finish my current novel by the end of April, this is a problem. I’m roughly 40K words away from my goal.

I feel like a failure. How is it possible that I wrote a 50K novel in November but I can’t get a novel written in 3 months!? I want to throw everything away and quit writing. It’s hard. Really hard. Anyone who wants to be a writer is crazy. And I hate all published authors.

Reflection: Setbacks are a mental problem. Half of me wants to throw everything out and call it a failure. The other half of me is remembering how excited I was when plotted out the novel, how much I believed in it. Where has all that fire gone?

It’s all gone because my internal editor has crept up on me. The further I get into a novel, the more my internal editor is itching to fix all the mistakes, tighten up the prose, cut unnecessary adjectives, etc. And I know this because on every novel I have written or attempted to write, I have hit this point of hopelessness at 25-30K words. I was almost at exactly 25K when April hit.

So how do you cut off your internal editor? Honestly, I’d like to know. In Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! he actually has a button you push to acknowledge that you are putting your internal editor away for the month of November. If only it were that simple.

On the other hand, I wrote 25,000 words! That’s a lot. And in the future when I am published, no one is going to ask in an interview, “So what happened in April 2011?” Because no one will care that I had a month of fear and anguish where I could hardly write. No one cares how long it takes you to write a book. They only care about the finished product.

So my book can be crappy right now. It’s a first draft. I can edit it to greatness later, let my internal editor loose later. But for now, I need to get it all out on the page.

Conviction: I am going to write 1,000 words a day in May. My novel still won’t be quite done but it will be a huge boost to the word count and get me out of this slump. Consistency is the key to creativity. It is also the key to finishing.

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