Why I’m Taking My Time With My Novel

The current deadline of my novel is made of elastic. Elastic that’s flexible, stretching when it wants and at its own pace. Forget the Hare! I am the tortoise. A proud tortoise! Trailing along at snail’s pace to the finish line. The finish line is the end goal, but there’s no harm in taking in the sights around me along the way. The clear blue skies, the bristling trees, the multitude of buildings that fill the skyline. The Hare wouldn’t appreciate the sights. The Hare just wants to get to the finish line already.

I used to be the Hare. When I was younger, I think I approached the task of writing a novel in a different way. It was about the destination. I wrote to get to the finish line so I could take the next step – send my manuscript off to literary agents. I bought the Writers’ and Artists’ yearbook in 2012, long before I’d even finished my very first novel. I spent time looking through the many different literary agents. I was already planning who I could send my unfinished novel to because I lived for the dream of seeing my book in stores with my name on it.

Back when I was writing the first draft of my novel, and even a couple of novels after, I put stricter deadlines on myself. Write 5000 words a week, 1000 words a day. When I got used to writing everyday my goal increased to 2000 words a day, sometimes 10,000 words a week. I sat at my laptop everyday with this goal in mind. I must write this amount for today before I can do anything else. 

It was a nightmare. Writing became a chore for me. It got to a point where I was losing interest in the thing I was writing. I’d put so much pressure on myself that I’d lose the words to say. My head would just go blank. I’d constantly check the word count. Only 300 words to go. I’d check the word count after spending a half hour at my desk to find I’d only written 300 words. Alright. 300 down, 700 words to go.

Still, it was about the end goal. The finish line. Forget the sights, I was heading straight for the flag! That thick white line. However, by focusing too much of my attention towards that end point, I sucked all the fun out of the journey.

What comes from that is a mediocre piece of work that could have been so much better had I really spent the time on it, rather than rushing to finish it. At this point, it may be years before I can say that I have completed my novel, but it will be a work that I am proud of and have completed to the highest standard. Meanwhile, I will enjoy the process of creating my novel along the way.

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