I’ve lost faith in my ability to approximate how long it will take to finish a novel. It goes without saying that any dates I had hoped to hit have been thrown out the window at this point. That being said, readers are due some explanation as to what has been causing delays on my end.
The Biggest Offender By Far – New Ideas
During the revision process, better ideas come up. If the idea is powerful enough that you can’t ignore it then you do readers and yourself an injustice not acting on it. Now, sometimes this means entering a few lines of dialog into a section you’ve already written.
BUT…Other times it causes a ripple that requires you rewrite 40 pages.
It’s a love/hate relationship for me. Often, I’d be sitting on my porch thinking of how to fix some scene I didn’t feel was working, looking for an angle or something subtle, but then the realization comes:
“The scene doesn’t work because the story is missing [Insert Eureka Idea]!” T. Ellery said. He smiled for a cathartic moment, then his face grew pained as he understood the full scope of what he had just done to himself.
When you are trying to hit a date, and you imagine you’ll be done at a certain point, all the ‘life stuff’ you have scheduled after that point doesn’t go away. This can put a burden on a lot of the process. For instance, I had always imagined that I would have the book to the editor before I went on a week long trip to visit my parents. That didn’t happen, and I didn’t get much writing done during the visit. Then when I got back my family reminded me that we were headed to NorWesCon for the next 4 days. I had already committed to going with them.
Admittedly [shame] I hit a rough patch a few weeks ago after I got back from parental vacation and NorWesCon. Before I left I had no trouble staying in my office for 6-8 hours a day. For one reason or another, I couldn’t get that to happen when I returned, was lucky to keep my butt in the seat for 1-2 hours. Only recently have I hit my normal groove again, but those weeks of fighting to get my focus back took their toll on the publication date.
This caught me completely off guard… because I’m an idiot.
For months I’ve woken up in the morning with that feeling I had slept on my arm wrong and it had caused my hands to go numb. I’ve always had poor circulation, and cold hands, so I more or less thought it was just a matter of getting older. It became a real problem recently, I started waking up every three hours with my hands both numb and yet my nerves telling me they had caught fire. Super annoying, probably because I love sleeping more then I should. Anyhow the only way to get the pain to stop was waking up and moving around and after a few days of it my sleep cycles were completely off and I was running lower and lower on energy.
I raced to the internet to find that these were symptoms of carpal tunnel. Now, I guess I should have figured this would happen if I was going to write full time. For now, I got some braces and I’m dealing with it until the sequel is finished, because I just got my groove back and don’t want to make any changes to my habits. After the sequel is handed over to the editor, I’ll look into some dictation software or other solutions for getting the finale done. Surgery if it gets bad enough.
Anyhow, I’m making progress again, hoping that no new ideas will push the finish line out now that I am finally closing the distance again. I’m confident though, I am running out of scenes that feel like they are missing something.