Thursday, February 3, 2011

The value of distraction

For the past two months, I've been so distracted by Christmas, that social networking job and freelancing, that I've no time -- none whatsoever -- to even glance at my novel in progress.
It was discouraging.
I had devoted all of November to writing the novel after dabbling with it for at least a year. By the month's end, I had reached 52,000 good, solid words and had set a goal of completing the first draft by the end of February. I was excited.
Then nothing.
Two months and not a single word.
But, as the moment neared when someone else would take over my social networking job, my mind turned back to the novel. When I had stopped writing on Nov. 30, I was stuck. I'd reached the climax of the book too soon and I wasn't sure how to make the novel longer.
Something was missing.
Something serious.
So I thought and I thought and I thought for two weeks.
I didn't look at what I'd already written. I still didn't have time. I simply played it over in my mind again and again and again while I was showering, while I was cooking dinner, while I was driving -- whenever I was physically busy, but my mind was free.
And then it hit me.
I had been entirely avoiding the exploration of the mother-daughter relationship. The daughter, who is highly important to the main character's motivation, was nothing more than a place holder. And I know why I did it, even if I did it subconsciously.
Parent-child relationships are tough. They are a lot of work in real life and I was avoiding that same kind of work in my novel. I had to address it.
Monday was the first day since Dec. 1 when I had an entirely clear schedule. No more social networking. No articles due. Nothing. The twins were in preschool for five hours. After errands, exercise and a bit of cleaning, that still left me 2.5 hours.
So I wrote.
I finished a chapter and wrote another the next day.
I am now up to 57,500 words with no fear that I will reach my goal of 80,000 words.
If anything, I'll need to be careful that I don't write too long.
I am excited again. I feel like I've found my story back.
My new goal? The end of April.

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