In the 80's, the big question was "Who shot J.R.?"
This week, the question is: "Can I finish my first draft by March 31st, 2012?"
What's the rush, you say? Okay, I admit, this is no one's deadline but my own. But my motivation and enthusiasm are at stake. I'll tell you why:
1. The ridiculous amount of time it took me to write my first book
2. I need to know I can produce
3. In this digital age, I can't afford to take nearly a decade for every book.
All told, I was six years working on my first book before I ever submitted it to anyone. It probably took me THREE years to write the first draft (off and on--mostly off, hence the three years).
In the age of the e-book and short memory and attention spans, I can't afford to produce books at such a slow pace. My goal is to get to where I can finish a manuscript in one year.
If I finish my current work-in-progress by March 31st, I will have finished the first draft within 15 months (started January, 2011). Again, that counts a lot of off time.
What's really at stake here is that if I finish this first draft by March 31st, I will prove to myself that it's possible for me to write a first draft manuscript in six months (3 months this year, and I mostly worked on this manuscript in Jan/Feb/July of last year). That is CRUCIAL to the rest of my career. It will be a terrific confidence booster.
But I am honestly concerned whether I will achieve my goal. Just as we have to keep throwing obstacles in the path of our story's main character that raise the stakes and make the reader wonder if they can achieve their goal, so it is with real life.
Just under two weeks ago, I started working with a trainer to get on a path to better physical fitness. And yes, that's positive in just about every way imaginable. With one exception---living a healthy lifestyle is extremely time consuming. The healthier the food you eat, the more trips to the grocery store--not to mention prep time. Then you add in the gym time and the other extra minutes and hours set aside for fitness.
That time had to come from somewhere. Oh how I wish I could reduce my work hours! But no such luck. So what takes a hit in my schedule? My writing time of course.
I'm quite alarmed at the distance I still have to go on my manuscript considering the plethora of other things on my plate right now. But I will just keep pushing on.
Because I desperately want to be able to type "The End" by 11:59 p.m. this Saturday night.
Pray for me!