Twelve months, twelve chapters, and I DID IT! I wrote every month! I finished all twelve chapters! I came out of 2014 with twelve more chapters in my book than I had in 2013 or the years previous, and that is an incredibly great feeling to have. I’m really proud of myself for making a goal like this and keeping to it for a whole year. Looking back it doesn’t seem like all that long or all that grand of a task, but I know when I started it back in January 2014, it looked like a mammoth undertaking. But now I know that it’s completely something I’m capable of.
And that’s why in 2015, I want to go a step further. I don’t want to just write one chapter a month. Even though that task was difficult to complete, I still feel like pushing myself for a slightly harder goal in 2015 will be beneficial. Now, I haven’t decided to do anything crazy like a goal of “Write Every Single Day for the Whole Year.” (Tried that for a month, and as we all know, it made me less likely to write.) I actually want to give myself a little more freedom while also giving myself a deadline. For now, I won’t have monthly deadlines of one chapter per month anymore. But I have deadline for December 31st to complete the (very!) rough first draft of the entire book! This is actually an even better goal for me than 2014’s novel writing goal because finishing this book—this story I’ve been so enthralled with since I was 13—has seemed like a dream to me for pretty much my whole life, but this year I’m really going to work to make it reality.Last year built up my confidence and let me know what works and doesn’t work for me while writing. I got to try different styles and take my time exploring characters and plot development without the pressure of “FINISH THE ENTIRE BOOK OR YOU’RE A FAILURE” running through my head. Basically, I got a head start under the premise of an “experiment,” and now that I’ve written 12 chapters and KNOW I can write this novel, the idea of finishing the whole novel seems less daunting.
Now, I may write all these encouraging things and tell myself “You can do it!” and then FAIL miserably. Maybe it won’t be enough structure. Or maybe I’ll be busier this year and just won’t have the same time to commit to writing as I did in 2014. Or maybe I will be able to continue writing a chapter a month but actually completing the novel would take more writing than that. It’s all quite possible. I hope I do complete my goal just like I completed last years. But come on, 2014’s novel writing goal wasn’t completed without quite a bit of strife and feelings of failure. I imagine if you talked to any writer (or artist), successful or not, you’d find that they feel like a failure a lot of the time. I think, perhaps, that’s a sign of a good artist. Because we’re overly critical of our work. But you can’t be so critical that you cripple yourself from creating. At some point, you do have to let go and just CREATE—go with your inner creative vibe. Good things will be made. Bad things will be made. But SOMETHING will be made.
And that’s how this novel writing journey works for me. I can already think of changes in the story and characters and additions I’d like to make to what I’ve already written. This year, I may take some time to go back and change a few things (major plot points only, I expect. I’d rather save the little bothersome things for the first edit), but I know it’s important to just WRITE. I want to bring this story in all its fullness to the light of day in 2015. And I hope you’ll join me on that journey.