Just keep writing.

Last week I had posted about how excited I was to find the muse again, as I started powering through a novel draft.

This is just a tiny update, and a celebration, I guess, because I feel like I’m getting back a part of me that I really missed.

In the first week working on my book, I hit about 15,000 words. Yesterday night, at the conclusion of week two, I hit 30,000 words. Now today, because it’s a Sunday and I have some free time (that should, actually, be used on things like… cleaning and laundry), I’ve managed to put another 8,000 words on paper bringing my grand total, on day 15, to 38,023 words.

I intend to hit 40,000 words by the end of the day, and 50,000 words by the end of this week.

I project the novel to wrap up around 80,000 words, so by the end of today, I’ll be about halfway there.

Typically when I start a novel, around the 20,000 – 30,000 word mark I start to think – “okay, but what about _(INSERT NOVEL HERE)_? Maybe I should work on that one instead.” And I hit that point HARD this week. I almost derailed and went back to an old draft. Or started something new. Or started a re-write. (I mean, the doubts kept coming.) Last night, hitting 30,000 words was like pulling teeth.

(Seriously. Last night’s words were utter crap.)

But then I hit my stride this morning, when I powered through a 3,500 word chapter in about an hour and a half. The 8,000 words I’ve written today have been over a span of 6 hours, and I took a trip to the grocery store, and stopped for a snack & supper in there.

And no, writing almost 40,000 words in 15 days is not generally the way to guarantee an award winning manuscript. But yet, generally speaking, first drafts are shitty anyway. Why not get it done quickly so you actually have something to make better?

Still, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself, considering I’m writing this around a side hustle and a full time job.

Basically I just wanted to write this, to remind myself next time I’m working on a draft that this is possible. I can do it. Sometimes the words will have to be forced out, and other times they’ll fall onto the paper with ease. But they’re there. Just keep going. Just write them down.

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Let the words flow.

For the last few years I’ve just paid lip service to the fact that I wanted to be a writer. And not “just for fun”. A professional, published author.

It wasn’t that I misjudged the work required to do it. I’ve written 7 novels, although none of them have ever gotten past the first or second draft.

But writer’s block is an awful beast. It can strike anyone, at any time. There is some validity to the often-repeated advice: just write through it. Yet, it isn’t that easy. Writer’s block isn’t just a lack of motivation, although that’s part of it.

It’s staring at a blank page, typing a few words, deleting them, typing a few new words, and deleting those too. Over and over and over again. Thinking nothing you could possibly put down on paper is “good enough”.

Everything seems stupid. Or cliché.

Part of my problem is indecisiveness. I have dozens and dozens of novel ideas. Every time I decide to work on one, I think, “OH, but __(insertnovelplothere)__ would be SO MUCH BETTER.” And so I go back and forth, trying to pick the perfect one. And I’m paralyzed by the options.

Being a writer, but not writing, is an awful existence. Without that outlet, everything just gets… backed up. It’s been a rough year, an emotional year, and I haven’t had a way to get it out. I’ve written a few posts here, but it isn’t the same. Fiction is an incredible source of comfort. Being a writer, and not writing, not feeling capable of it, physically hurts.

So last week I thought, to hell with it. I’m going to write a shitty novel. A novel I don’t intend to publish, a novel that won’t be my breakout hit. A novel I’ll probably never make any money off of. I decided to take the pressure off, and let myself just write. To just create something, for the pure joy of it. For the beauty of the process. Several years back, I published a novel on FictionPress as I wrote it, chapter by chapter. I set myself a deadline – a new update, every week.

The deadlines kept me going, and the fun of knowing that people were reading it – and enjoying it, because they kept coming back – was incredible. When someone took the time to review? A total rush. Checking out my stats and seeing them grow? A huge confidence boost.

So I sat down last week Sunday and started to write.

What started off as a blank page has become 15,591 words and counting. (The fact that 15,591 words in one week is such an intense triumph for me shows how bad my writer’s block has gotten. A few years ago, I wrote a 98,000 word manuscript in 15 days.) Five chapters done, and two more half-finished. The first four chapters are on FictionPress as of this evening. The fifth chapter will probably go up on Wednesday after I give it a once-over, and chapters six and seven next week – but which point I hope to have eight, nine, maybe even ten, done.

And the best part of it? The words are flowing again. All I want to do is write. I’m scribbling out scenes on the bus, jotting down ideas on napkins.

Again I’ll say, it’s not good fiction. It’s somewhat rambly, largely unedited (typos, yes, content, meh). I’m not creating a work of art.

But the muse is back. I’ve missed her desperately.

(PS. If for some reason you want to read my [messy] return to fiction, you can read DISARM ME here as I post it. It’s something of a fluffy disaster, so you’ve been warned. Or, if you’d prefer to read on Wattpad, you can find Disarm Me right HERE)