It’s August 1st, and I haven’t finished the draft of that next novel, Debts of My Fathers. I’m around 75,000 words, and I probably have another 15,000 words to go.
So, what happened?
Well, first of all, it’s not a disaster. I’m probably going to take a few days off and then pick up and finish it off by mid-month. However, it is a little disappointing. My previous three novels were all done as NaNoWriMo’s, and I hit the 50,000 word mark by November 30th in each case. (Plus, I did another NaNoWriMo even before those, but that novel was never completed.) So I’m used to setting a deadline and meeting it. This time I didn’t.
The deadline was to finish the novel by the end of July, and the novel felt like it was going to be around 90,000 words. So with 60 days, I set a pace of 1500 words per day. I did pretty well until mid to late July, and then I started faltering. Partly it was that I had two weekend conferences (20-22nd and 27-29th) that sucked up some of my days. They also pushed other tasks off of the weekend and into weekday time that I would have been writing. It’s also summer, and I’m dealing with the kids a lot. So, to that extent, it wasn’t so much writer’s block as much as it was having trouble making the hours in my schedule.
But it was also at least a little bit of writer’s block. I’m not a big fan of waiting for the stars to align before I can write. I put my butt in the chair and write. But still, some days I write at the pace of 1000 words per hour, and some days I write at the pace of 200 words per hour. Generally, the faster I write, the better the text, so it’s not like I’m spending hours carefully crafting those magic 200 words. The last several days of July were a lot closer to 200 words per hour than 1000 words per hour.
To some extent, I’m not that surprised. Of the three novels I completed before this, I hit a rough patch at around 70-75% of the way through on each of them. It actually caused me to set each of them aside for a while. The first one had a pause of almost two years. The second one caused a pause of about ten months. The third one was a pause of a few weeks. I’m not sure what it is about that spot, but while I won’t call it writer’s block, it might be at least a writer’s cramp. Hopefully, the pause will be even shorter this time.
So I’m going to take a few days off from the novel draft, though it probably will not be a few days off from writing. I hope to get ahead on some blog and essay writing and possibly even do a little bit of flash fiction. Then I’ll wrap this one up by mid-August.
I’ll let you know when it wraps up.