Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 Goals Series: Finish My Novel

This post is part of the 2015 Goals Series, where I'll share my goals for the year, why they are important to me, and how I plan to accomplish them. You can follow along here


This goal is definitely the most stressful, yet the most life changing for me.  And it is the one I have been avoiding the most.

Hi all.  This is the last post in the 2015 Goals Series.  Thanks for sticking with me.

So, even as I'm sitting down to write this, I feel my core start to tighten, and I start to feel my usual urge to run away when things get tough.  I feel the urge to give up, but at the same time I know that this is what I'm meant to do.  So giving up is not an option.  Sometimes I think, if it's so hard for me, then maybe it's not meant to be.  But almost before I can get that thought out, something inside me screams, "YOU CAN DO THIS!"

The last, but not least, of my goals for 2015 is to finish my first novel.  Well, not exactly finish, but make great headway.

It all started when I first attempted NaNoWriMo in 2003.  I don't even remember where this story idea came from initially, but it has grown to be such a part of me it almost seems real.  I have dreams about it to this day.  I just played around with the idea for a couple of years (I did not successfully finish that 2003 NaNoWriMo), but it did not really pull at me until the beginning of 2006.

In late 2006, my life had become a bit tumultuous.  I had lost my dad suddenly just months before, my marriage was ending, and I was unsure of what to do next.  My writing had become extremely important to me, and I picked up on my novel idea.  I suddenly felt an extreme need to finish it, like time was running out.  I became obsessed with it.  Soon I had in my head that it would be a good idea to quit my job and take three months to finish my book.

I quit my job.  I was the Firm Administrator of a CPA firm, where I had worked for 11 years.  I had a corner office.  And I left it.

I know we're not supposed to have regrets in life, but that's one of mine.

So I left my job, with plans to live off my 401K until I could finish my book and have it published, and then I would go back to work temporarily until I made my millions.

What a foolish, foolish girl I was.

I did manage to squeak out a first draft of 50,000 words.  I was really proud of that, and still am.  But as far as having a publishable product, I failed miserably.  It was a bad move financially (obviously) and totally crushed my confidence as a writer.

Fast forward to now, and I am ready to give it a go again, but without all of the silly sacrifices.  

I still feel like I am struggling with the self-confidence in a big way, but I'm determined to overcome that.  The time has come for me to stop worrying about what other people would think of my story, and just get it written.  The first draft was, um, a shitty first draft.  So much work has to be done, it's overwhelming.  

But I'm doing to do it.

So, I have a plan for finishing this book, but it won't happen until next year, according to my calculations.  However, I can get a boatload of work done this year.

Here's my plan:  

1. Prepare story outline. (1 outline)
2. Prepare chapter outlines. (35 outlines)
3. Prepare chapter blueprints. (35 blueprints)
4. Edit chapters. (35)
5. Prepare final draft.

Steps and timeline:

1. Prepare story outline in one week. (1 week)
2. Prepare one chapter outline per week. (35 weeks)
3. Prepare one chapter blueprint per week. (35 weeks)
4. Edit one chapter per week. (35 weeks)
5. Hand off book to Mom to read and comment. (4 weeks)
6. Prepare final draft of novel. (2 weeks)

112 weeks total = 28 months

So, you're probably wondering, where in the heck do I come up with this.  What in the world are chapter blueprints, blah blah blah?  

That's for another blog post, but it's a technique I learned long ago from Steve Manning, before I even started working on this book.  I've used it for many smaller projects, mostly for work, and found that it really is fool proof.  I'll write a more comprehensive post on it soon.

The technique is fool proof, as long as you do the work.  That is something I have not done with this book.

But this year that will change.  I'm determined.  I have to, right?  I have this fear that I will die before I finish it.  I would go to Heaven really unhappy if that happened.

I'm sorry this was so long.  It could have been longer, believe me.  This is a subject that is so close to my heart.

Do you have a project that is pulling at you?  I'd love to hear about it.  It would be helpful to know that I'm not the only one.  :)

Thanks again for reading. 

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