Manuscript Interrupted

My novel writing challenge was a big fat fail.

I didn’t finish writing my novel in 3 months.

I did write 32,153 words, more than I have ever written before, including my Master’s dissertation.

It trumps my last biggest effort, a different novel which reached 27,014 words before it was pushed to the back of the virtual desk drawer.

It seems that I have some sort of writing block at approximately 30,000 words.

My brain has started formulating a third novel, although I have yet to write down a single word of it, as I feel I must address these two unfinished stories first.

All these ideas and characters suspended in time, their words and actions frozen, all my trailing thoughts just left to dangle in the breeze.

My excuse for not reaching my goal is that my freelance writing business took off and I didn’t have enough time to devote myself to unpaid writing when I had actual paying clients waiting for my work. This is true but even a small amount of time spent daily on this project would have resulted in progress. Just 500 words a day would have netted me another 25,000 words since my last page was written.

It seems to me that a daily writing habit is much like starting a diet, it’s laborious and difficult to commit to but even small efforts compound over time to create a real change. If I dedicated a daily commitment of words and reduced calories I could create 42,000 words and lose 24 pounds by Christmas, now there’s a goal!

Maybe the problem isn’t me, maybe it is that goal setting is inherently a futile exercise, an article in Psychology Today found that goal setting could be counterproductive to achieving our aims and that when we fail to reach a goal our productivity dips below the beginning baseline.

They suggest goals be broken down into manageable chunks, a daily writing word count is achievable rather than simply saying “I am going to finish my novel” and go!

But they also state that you must forgive yourself when you don’t attain your goal, dust yourself off and start all over again.

So here goes:

I commit to a daily writing target of 500 words

If I don’t meet my goal I will be kind to myself but refocus and try again

I will remember the wise words of two of my favorite authors:

 “Whether it’s a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ the work is always accomplished one word at a time.” Stephen King.


“Done is better than good” Elizabeth Gilbert

I must remember that my task here is to complete the damn thing, it doesn’t even have to be good, it just has to be completed, after all, that’s what rewrites are for!


0 thoughts on “Manuscript Interrupted

  • October 3, 2016 at 12:33 am

    Life does get in the way as a writer, I have been working on a short story for so long I could have written a long story!!! You have to be kind to yourself but allow time to be creative-after all that’s what makes life rich. I think you’re being too ambitious why don’t you try for just 15 mins a day-set a timer write for 15 mins and then continue if you want or stop- might b more manageable??

  • October 4, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Agree with Gilbert, done is better than good. I spent ages fussing over my novel and 3 months into rewrites I realize I should have just finished it because you change most if it in edits anyway, just get the words down


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