Friday, August 19, 2011

This Writer: Resolution

In 2010, I decided that I wanted to write (the first draft of) a novel. I’d been in grad school for four years, focusing on classes and teaching freshman composition, and I hadn’t written much fiction since undergrad. Writing a novel seemed daunting.

But writing a novel in a year seemed less daunting: having the full year helped me relax—but also pushed me into complacency. So I subdivided the novel into pieces—too many pieces, it turns out—but a chapter of a novel per month seemed a little less daunting, and a subchapter of a novel per week even less so.

It was kind of like when I was younger and would wander into a cold swimming pool an inch at a time—it’d take me forever to get in, but I'd eventually get in. (Nanowrimo, by contrast, is jumping from the high-dive.)

Different people and projects take different strokes. One friend shoots to write a certain amount of time per day—and I find that this method works better for me when writing academic writing. Many of my friends find that they work better writing for a deadline with an audience—writing workshop, accountability partners, etc. At least one friend says that from now on he’ll write at a dead sprint until the thing is done, which helps maintain the continuity of his voice.

I’m glad to report that I finished the first draft of my novel just two weeks after the end of 2010, sometime in mid-January 2011. But there were snags along the way, which I’ll talk about in future posts. But at least I got my feet wet.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on getting your feet wet! It's an awesome thing to finish a first draft.