Life { Faith } Tea

and ramblings on everything in between

So, about that novel…

photo (44)My NaNo novel has been sitting in the catch-all basket in my living room since Thanksgiving. Every time I walk by it I avoid eye contact. When the temptation is too much and I glance over at it, I’m flooded with anxiety. Is it possible to truly be scared of a few pieces of paper? I think it is.

I’ve started and gotten half-way through so many short stories over the years. I’m good at starting new pieces. I’m bad at seeing them through to the end. It’s the dreaming and creating part that I love, not the editing and making it great part. I’m determined to push through that nonsense this time. I was passionate enough to write the silly thing in a month, and I refuse to just leave it on my desktop to never be seen again.

After being snowed in for three days this week, I plucked the novel from its spot in the basket and proceeded to move it around from room to room with me. “Right after I finish this…” is what I said to it. But three days came and went and all I did was prove to the novel that I’m a liar.

I told myself a bunch of corny things:

-          You’re not afraid of the novel, you’re afraid of what others will say about it

-          You have nothing to fear except fear itself

-          You can’t be a writer if you refuse to be an editor

And then I jotted down these notes in my phone as the novel hung out next to me on the bed. And then I got an email. You know exactly how this goes.

“Two pages,” I said. “Start with two pages.”

What I discovered was, just as with writing, the precious moment before you begin to edit or begin to write are the scariest. You think you can’t push through them. You think you’ll never know what it feels like to be on the other side of them. But before you know it, you start to think you know exactly what you’re doing.

I made it through the first chapter and was surprised at how I felt. Excited. Determined. Energized. It was as if I had never doubted myself or my writing.

I’ve got a long way to go, the novel’s got a long way to go, but I can tell a door is opening.

My writing goals for this year are:

-          Edit my novel and share it with at least one person. I struggle with putting my writing out there, and I’m hopefully that after I let one person read it I’ll realize it’s not as scary as I think it will be.

-          Finish the short story I started six years ago when I took a writing class taught by Kevin Symmons. He has since published two novels, which you can find here and here. My story is titled “Wash N’ Dry,” an attempt at creating something similar to John Updike’s “A&P.”

-          Enter the Real Simple essay contest in September. The topic will be announced in May, and no matter what it is, I’m going for it. I submitted a piece in 2012 and dropped the ball in 2013. That whole editing thing…

-          Participate in NaNoWriMo again. I’ve already started plotting my next novel. It’s the polar opposite of the one I just wrote. A chiclet novel about a young woman’s struggle to fit into mundane office life.

Whether they are big or small, ambitious or realistic, I hope you are setting some expectations of what this year will be for you. It all starts with today.

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7 comments on “So, about that novel…

  1. theparisreviewblog
    January 9, 2014

    I totally relate to not seeing a story through to the end. I think blogging is a great way to stay accountable for following through with your work. I have a literary blog too, so I understand wanting feedback. Keep writing!

    • Ashlee
      January 10, 2014

      Thanks for the encouragement! I started this blog a year ago and it has definitely helped me to sit down and focus on writing more consistently. Good luck with your writing endeavors this year!

  2. Andrew Nicol
    January 10, 2014

    Just yesterday I read a piece from Donald Miller (writer) at his storyline blog. It was a productivity schedule he created to help him overcome procrastination. Heres a quote “I thought for a long time the problem was me, in my inability to write. But in
    researching writers block and procrastination, I realized the problem was in how I
    was structuring my day.”

    You might find this interesting – its a 5 min read. http://www.storylineblog.com/storyline-productivity-schedule.pdf

    Good luck with the Novel – I’m not sure I have the discipline to write a book, because I love starting and leave the finishing to other people. :-)

    • Ashlee
      January 10, 2014

      Thank you for sharing this! It’s interesting (and always comforting) to see that even published and full-time writers have trouble making the magic happen. I think my problem is that writing and editing are always at the bottom of my to do list. I treat it as “If/when I get all this other stuff done, I can sit down and write.” On the rare day that everything gets done, I’m too exhausted when I finally sit down to do something creative because it’s the end of the day and I’m spent.

      I’ll have to work on incorporating a few of Donald’s ideas into my schedule.

      Thanks again!

  3. Pingback: What Life { Faith } Tea Means to Me | Life { Faith } Tea

  4. Pingback: I Stayed Inside | Life { Faith } Tea

  5. Pingback: Edit Novel: ✓ | Life { Faith } Tea

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This entry was posted on January 9, 2014 by in Writing and tagged , , .

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