Despite the excellent support and insights of Alan Watt, writing a novel is proving even more difficult than I thought. However, I am following through.
The story I started to tell had too long a timeline so big changes had to be made in my plot. Characters and dialogue have also been challenging. A first-time novelist has lots to learn so Watt's gives his readers an extra week to work on the first act, if they need it, which I did.
A first rough draft is daunting, but breaking it down to 500 words a day (or 750, 1,000, 1,500, or more) is what makes it possible. I've found that writing scenes rather than trying to write the novel from beginning to end works better for me. I just need to get the story down on paper. In truth, it helps when I remind myself no one else is going to read this draft.
Remember to be kind to yourself if you do not, or cannot, meet your word count every day. My job's editing and printing deadlines make it difficult to work on any other projects for ten days each month. The important thing is to keep writing.
It's gratifying to see the pile of pages grow, but I find myself drawn to editing, rewriting, and polishing these pages instead of writing new ones. Now is not the time to do any of that. I need to let go of "perfection" and just write the story.
This project takes up a lot of time and concentration. If you are planning on following Watt's 90-Day Novel plan, know that you will have to make sacrifices: less TV, reading, socializing, etc. However, you gain confidence, a sense of accomplishment, a greater appreciation for all authors, and a sense of community as you join their ranks.
When I hit my stride on good days, words just pour out. Other times, it's a struggle to make my word quota. The reality is that every day I write is a good day. I am living my dream. I have overcome my own resistance (it's easier to not write than to write) and defeated the naysayers—and you can, too.
Writing is hard work. No way around that, but, if it's what you want to do, it's worth the effort.
As support is essential, I also recommend The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. I find reading his insights get me writing everyday. I simply flip open to any page and read until I cannot wait to pick up my pen or get to my keyboard to work on my novel and other projects.
Pressfield's thoughts on "The Artist's Life" is posted in my Writer's Crate as it is so inspiring. I wish he had put it on the first page of his book instead of the last as it reinforces my belief in myself and my writing goals.
How are your 90-Day Novels going?
My next update will be posted on April 1.