That's because the characters have now gone from being the set of characteristics I've thrown together and have developed something of a personality – and they push back in unexpected ways. They do things that provide shadings I hadn't expected, or answer to plot problems that maybe weren't quite fleshed out completely when I started.
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If you've been at the keyboard every day, trying to meet your goal, but job, family or health has interfered, please be kind to yourself. Keep making your best effort and understand that it's not necessarily your fault.
You took this on because this is important to you. Maybe it’s a life goal, maybe it’s a need to get yourself back on track. If you’re struggling, tell yourself that you’re doing good by sitting down in front of that keyboard. You’re building a habit that will see you through this month and beyond.
The world would be a poorer place without ideas to inspire folks, to challenge their beliefs, to offer comfort when life is cold and cruel. We should not elevate what we do too much, but I have long held that if what I write makes one person feel better — even if that person is me — then that is a worthwhile thing.
It’s different for each of us, but it may be time to adjust your sails so you reach your destination, which should be a finished first draft, whether you make 50,000 words by November 30 or no.
My favorite moment in any story I write is the one where I find myself lost inside of it. It’s a strange phenomenon, but when it’s working, there comes a moment when everything seems to click and the story becomes my whole world. It’s what’s on my mind at any given moment, and occupies my thoughts on waking and before I drift off to sleep. Even when I’m busy with other things, it is never far from me.
But whether you’re ahead or behind, the writing continues because that’s how we build our stories and our words, drop by drop, word by word. It may feel as if it’s painfully slow – and I’m not going to argue with you about that – but it is progress.
Now is not the time to strive for perfection. If we do, we won’t make word count, we won’t get our words done. Just throw the words on the page and trust your instinct. Don’t worry if your 19th century heroine is making 21st century pop culture references. If it expresses what you want her to convey right now, put it down. During the revision phase is the time to weed out inconsistencies, putty over the cracks and make certain everything is smooth.
Books don’t get written without our words. Yesterday is past, never to come again, but tomorrow is always waiting. Your tools lie before you. Arm yourself and your ideas could change the world.