I know I’ve been quiet for a few weeks, but I’m still here.
Recently, I’ve heard a lot of authors, some wildly successful, say that the hardest part of writing a book is actually finishing the story. Following their advice, last month I changed my normal writing process and set out to finish writing my story without “tidying it up as I go” . . . just dumping the words on the page to get to the end.
In order to eliminate distractions and focus on writing my book, I put myself in a “timeout.” That meant no blogging, no chatting with friends and fellow authors, and no playing on social media.
It’s been lonely, but the results are proof that the sacrifice was well worth it.
Did I meet my goal and finish my first draft by the end of January?
Did I finish it by the middle of February?
Am I discouraged about not finishing my book? Definitely not! I managed to write more in five weeks than I wrote in the previous eight months.
I have two scenes left to write—two stubborn scenes that I can’t seem to figure out. But I’m not worried. I know what needs to happen, and I know the right words will come to me . . . eventually.
Giving up now would be like running a marathon and lying down two feet before the finish line. I can’t imagine any runner would work so hard, only to give up and do something so foolish; and neither will I.
I’m almost there . . . so incredibly close.
But, you know what? As excited as I am about the progress of my book, the most important thing I’ve accomplished the past six weeks is remembering why I wanted to write in the first place. And that’s because I love it.
I write every day.
Not because it’s a habit. Not because it’s what I’m expected to do.
I stopped putting unnecessary stress on myself with unrealistic expectations and self-imposed deadlines that took the fun out of writing. Because that’s what writing is to me. Fun. Creative. Making up people and stories, writing them down, then reshaping them until I create something I’m proud of and want to share with the world.
I write, because it’s what I want to do. It makes me happy.
So, while my last two scenes get into shape, I’m working on my favorite part of the creative process—revising the chapters I wrote so far this year. The last chapters of my debut novel.
I’m still here. I’m still in the race, and I have no doubts that I’ll cross the finish line. Very soon. —CJ
© CJ Andrews, 2016. All rights reserved.