It’s November 30.
Which means it’s the last day of this month of National Novel/November Writing Month.
Where highly-motivated and/or crazy people join a big movement to commit to writing the first draft of a novel (generally thought of at about 50,000 words) in one month.
Which means one would write about 1,700 words each and every day of the month. Translated into the traditional “page-length” feel from when we all used to hold books in our hands and flip the pages instead of reading them on screens, this means a little over five pages a day.
You’d think maybe you could do that, right?
I have friends who’ve achieved it in other Novembers, and some who achieved it this November.
Not even close.
I wanted to. I thought I would. I thought it wouldn’t even be so very daunting, compared to all the other stuff in life that is truly daunting.
It became completely apparent to me by November 3 that there was no way I could produce 1700 words a day on a novel. That my usual rate of 400 words a day when writing daily on a novel might be ramped up to 600 words a day. But that there was no way I was going to squeeze out any more. Not any day. Let alone thirty days in a row.
Did I fail?
Because I have 12,000 words of a novel that I like.
Which is a big win, compared to what was happening before.
Which was getting 20,000 words into the first draft . . . twice . . . in two completely separate drafts . . . of the first-novel-sequel I have had in mind to write for the past two years. . . and hating both of them. Because they did not sing along to me–not even close–the way the draft of the first book did. And I knew that if they weren’t singing to me, they sure as hell weren’t going to be singing to any readers, either.
So I canned them both.
And I walked completely away from the story and project a year and a half ago.
I worked on a bunch of other stuff. And left Tiberius (the narrator and main character in the first novel) completely alone.
Finally being able to come back to these characters and their places and world and to see and hear them again in ways that make me enthralled and interested in finding out what’s next? And having a new mystery unfold in the same way the first one did . . . as I went along through writing, and in visions that would come to me suddenly during the day on walks and in dreams and insomnia at night? That’s a win. That’s success. That’s a miracle.
And I’m chugging along. And if I can do the 400 words a day every, I’ll have the first draft done by the end of February.
Which is way, way, way, way, way good enough by me.
[By the way, the word count of this post is 448. And it wrote itself, and then knew exactly where to stop.
And a further by-the-way: part of the sequel is set above. In Salona. The ancient Roman capital of Illyria/Dalmatia . . . just outside of the city of Split, in present-day Croatia.]