When I decided to write a novel, I knew a lot of hard work would be involved. However, I never expected that my novel would take so long to get it to a submission-ready level. I wrote my novel in 2015, and after a two-month break, I started the editing process. Three years later, I’m still in the editing process, and I feel I will never finish (cries a little).
I’m currently on my fourth draft, which I had previously assumed would only take two to three months to complete – I was wrong. Now, there have been many reasons why I’ve not met my novel targets, and they aren’t all because of the novel. I’ve struggled to find time to work on the novel, especially recently, and I’ve had personal issues. However, one of the main things that have slowed down my progress with my novel is my lack of motivation and focus. My lack of motivation reduces my ability to concentrate, and we all know that a novel requires a lot of concentration. I’ve allowed other projects (shorter ones) to take up the limited free time that I have when I should be editing my novel. And when I do work on my novel, my mind wanders, and I’m lucky if I manage to edit a paragraph.
I believe the size of the project also blocks me. I currently have over 100,000 words (my first draft was over 120,000 words), so I often feel overwhelmed and instead of pushing through I allow myself to be distracted by the thoughts of other projects (short stories, flash fiction collection, novella, etc.) and the lure of new novel ideas. And this is what I have done for a long time. But now I’m entering the fourth month of 2018, I have decided that I need to focus on finally finishing this novel.
I was looking through my novel notes the other day, and I was amazed by how much work had gone into this project. And that’s when I realised that if I give up on this novel and move on to something else or never finish this project, then I would have wasted years of hard work. Now, if the novel wasn’t right, or I didn’t love the story, then yeah, I should move on, but I do love this story. I want people to read this novel, but that’ll never happen unless I pull my socks up and stop making excuses.
With the will to see this project to the end, I’ve stopped working on loads of other projects so my time can be spent on the novel. I now only edit my novel and write my novella. Also, since I’m struggling to find time in the week to work on my novel, I’ve vowed to keep my Sundays free for my novel, so I can start moving forward with this project. It’s not going to be easy, and I do miss working on my short stories, but if I’m to finish this novel this year, then I must prioritise the novel.
I will be referring back to my ‘10 Ways to Stay Motivated When Editing Your Novel’ blog post to help keep me motivated. So, for all of you who are also struggling with your novel, I want you to remember why you started the novel in the first place and how hard you have already worked. You should also use the tips in my blog post to help keep you motivated. It might take you a long time, but it will be worth it in the end when that published novel is in your hands. So don’t give up on your novel. You can do this.
Are you struggling to edit or write your novel? Feel free to comment below and together we can get through this slump.
Keep writing, folks!