Still in the Race . . . A Brief Update for All You Inquiring Minds

FullSizeRender 11I know I’ve been quiet for a few weeks, but I’m still here.

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of authors, some wildly successful, say that the hardest part of writing a book is actually finishing the story. Following their advice, last month I changed my normal writing process and set out to finish writing my story without “tidying it up as I go” . . . just dumping the words on the page to get to the end.

In order to eliminate distractions and focus on writing my book, I put myself in a “timeout.” That meant no blogging, no chatting with friends and fellow authors, and no playing on social media.

It’s been lonely, but the results are proof that the sacrifice was well worth it.

Did I meet my goal and finish my first draft by the end of January?

No.

Did I finish it by the middle of February?

Still, no.

Am I discouraged about not finishing my book? Definitely not! I managed to write more in five weeks than I wrote in the previous eight months.

I have two scenes left to write—two stubborn scenes that I can’t seem to figure out. But I’m not worried. I know what needs to happen, and I know the right words will come to me . . . eventually.

Giving up now would be like running a marathon and lying down two feet before the finish line. I can’t imagine any runner would work so hard, only to give up and do something so foolish; and neither will I.

I’m almost there . . . so incredibly close.

But, you know what? As excited as I am about the progress of my book, the most important thing I’ve accomplished the past six weeks is remembering why I wanted to write in the first place. And that’s because I love it.

I write every day. 

Not because it’s a habit. Not because it’s what I’m expected to do.

I stopped putting unnecessary stress on myself with unrealistic expectations and self-imposed deadlines that took the fun out of writing. Because that’s what writing is to me. Fun. Creative. Making up people and stories, writing them down, then reshaping them until I create something I’m proud of and want to share with the world.

I write, because it’s what I want to do. It makes me happy.

So, while my last two scenes get into shape, I’m working on my favorite part of the creative process—revising the chapters I wrote so far this year. The last chapters of my debut novel.

I’m still here. I’m still in the race, and I have no doubts that I’ll cross the finish line. Very soon. —CJ

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© CJ Andrews, 2016. All rights reserved.

9 responses

  1. Some writing is ethereal. If you look at an average words per week a writer has written and project how many scenes they have left to do, they can come up with a rough idea of when they’ll finish. All that does is give them an idea. As they move forward, they can adjust their finish date. Everybody writes for different reasons, and setting goals can help dreams become reality. A few extra months is no big deal, but maybe setting a goal helps keep the writing of a book from taking a few extra years.

    Congratulations on your progress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dan!

      I agree. And I still have goals, but they’re more like guidelines now. I’ve stopped beating myself up if the right words (or any words) won’t come out when I think they need to and I don’t make a goal. I think that’s a much healthier…and happier…approach to doing something I love.

      I know I’ll finish my book, and I’m confident it will be in the hands of readers later this year.

      Like

  2. Okay CJ chequered flag coming out…I’m into Formula 1 and first GP in Australia 20th March…you’ll be on the grid? Okay maybe need a bit more fine tuning, a bit more horse power (is there a horse in your story?) Canadian GP 12th June you’ll be on the podium? …USA GP 23rd October you’ll be a winner for sure out there for the wide world to see. I’m not telling you when the last race of the season is as irrelevant. Drive well and not too safe! Cheers Eric

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha…Thanks, Eric! I love your enthusiasm and really appreciate your support. 🙂

      Sorry to say, no horses in my story…you’ll have to hold out for the sequel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So awesome CJ! We all need to do that ‘time out’ thing at some point with writing our books. And it’s amazing how productive that time can be. We may not reach the goals we set out to fulfill, but we must have those goals to keep us accountable and on track. And give or take a few weeks or months, we can then look back and say ‘Ahh’. Revisions are truly a time for ‘Aha moments’, enjoy the ride! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debby! 🙂

      It’s been a bumpy ride, but the sense of accomplishment I feel when I read over a scene or chapter I haven’t looked at for a while is amazing! It makes me want to buckle up and keep going.

      BTW–I almost missed your comment. For some reason WP didn’t notify me. I’m so glad I found it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you did too. And I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying revisions. It’s very self-gratifying. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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