These are some pix of the state of my office while frantically finishing my novel. Notice my essentials: chocolate, Starbucks and an empty wine glass.
On Thursday, March 15 I finished and submitted a draft of my novel-in-stories to this contest. I’d seen it in the December issue of Poets & Writers and wished I had something ready. My awesome writing group convinced me that I could definitely get my current work-in-progress done by the deadline. I had my doubts, but I focused and worked hard almost every day, putting in nine hours that final day. I learned a lot over those three months of intense work.
I learned that:
– it is incredibly satisfying to be able to say “I wrote a novel” rather than “I’m writing a novel”
– I can work and write in an incredibly focused way, especially with a deadline prodding me
– I work best in forty-five minute sessions, followed by fifteen minutes of some other mindless task like dishes or folding clothes or browsing through the bookstore, letting the scene/story percolate
– when I am immersed in my writing but not drowning, the story is always simmering. I go to bed thinking about the characters and story and wake up thinking about them.
– I can’t read very much when I working so hard on my own writing. There’s not enough space in my brain to contain it all.
– I have several phrases and words that I like and use more often than I should
– I actually have a revision process that works for me
– that at some point I have to just let it go out into the world, trusting that I wrote to the best of my ability