I set out, at the beginning of this month, to write a chapter a day and finish my fifth draft of “Quest for Salvation” by July 30th.
I’ll tell you the bad news first. I didn’t write a chapter a day. I was sick for a little under a week, and I choose not to write when I am sick. I learned during my freshman year of college that when I am sick, my writing becomes an incoherent blob of crazy (and yet I still managed to salvage that paper on Julius Caesar). At that point, I was ready to give up. I thought: I’ll never finish now, there can’t possible be enough days left in the month to get this done! (Yeah, I only have nineteen chapters so I think my math skills suffer when I’m sick too…)
But here’s the good news: I finished. On Monday I sat down and said: write, you fool! You have a week left! And I wrote. Oh yeah, I had to go to work and spend time with my family, but I got past the hardest part of my rewrite and I kept going. On Tuesday, I got up, ate some breakfast, and powered through the rest of the novel. (Admittedly, my rewrite cut about three chapters and I didn’t have to change much in the last five, so I had it pretty easy.)
I don’t know how inspiring this really is, but I just want to say: You can do it. It might be hard, you might be sick, but you can still do it. You can make that deadline, self-imposed or not. You just have to buckle down and get it done.
This is a skill I learned during college. I had lots of writing deadlines (you know, all those papers I was writing when I was sick?) and so I learned to do it. Sure, I stressed out over every single one, but they were all finished. I never turned anything in late.
When I was in high school and didn’t have a strict writing schedule, I always thought that the thing holding me back from putting my whole heart into becoming a writer was that I couldn’t “write on command.” In other words, the deadlines scared me. Now, I say bring it on.
After I visit family at the beginning of August, I’m going to start sending out my queries and chapters. Wish me luck!
Take care, fellow travelers. And keep writing.