Reaching Milestones

Yesterday, just shy of 1:00 am, I passed the 50,000-word mark on my novel. This puts me roughly half-way toward the length of an average novel. Unfortunately, being sick all last month made Nanowrimo a bust for me. Several days I was so sapped of energy, I couldn’t think clearly enough to write.

I’m supremely grateful to have reached the 50K milestone. While I’m trying to not sell myself short of accomplishments, I’m also trying to avoid making a bigger deal about this than I should. In other words, “Yay, 50K! Now, get back to work!”

In the end, I’ll only find satisfaction by finishing this book, even though it’s harder than I ever expected. The burst of creativity when I outlined my novel generated 25,000 words in a few short weeks. Since then, progress has been agonizing, with only 1,000 – and sometimes fewer – new words on the page each week.

This is a far different experience of writing than I had in my youth when ideas were all around me. I’m confident my grammatic style was appalling back then, but I didn’t suffer from lack of inspiration. My most significant a-ha was realizing how different writing a novel is from writing a short story.

Through my recent efforts, I’ve discovered a new process in my writing. I’ve had to spend considerable time getting to know each of my characters, figuring out what motivates them. I’m building relationships with imaginary people so I can relate them to the reader. Relationship-building takes time, and in a sense, these characters only come into awareness of themselves once I know what makes them tick. I’ve found, recently, with one or two characters I don’t have to think as much about how they might behave in various situations, it seems to unfold on its own… But, yeah, it’s a lot of hard work getting there.

But, I’m learning to love writing deeper. I’m learning to love the challenge. Who knows what else I may discover as I continue this creative journey?

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