This past week, I reached another milestone in my novel-in-progress:
Except it’s not really my 200th page, for my story is a novel in two volumes (like how Lord of the Rings is actually a novel in three volumes rather than the trilogy it’s often erroneously termed). The first volume of the story in draft form is 377 pages.
That means I’m technically on page 577.
The past two months has seen me achieve a number of writing milestones: my current page number; my one-year blogging anniversary on February 20; my writer’s birthday (which I actually missed) on February 10.
I’m now a five-year-old writer.
I mark my writing birthday from the day I began to approach my writing with a dedicated and professional attitude, and with the intention to pursue publication. This day coincides with the day I commenced my very first (shelved, someday to be rewritten) novel.
I remember I started Novel #1 on a day I had karate class. I was already late leaving the house, but a great opening paragraph suddenly flashed through my head, and I just I had to type it up before I left.
Not that I was planning to continue on with the novel at that particular point in time. True, I’d already made the decision to stop writing short stories, but I didn’t yet feel ready to attack something novel-length.
I remember I told myself I’d just take down the opening and leave it at that – that I’d come back to it someday in the future when the time was right.
Well, “someday” wound up being the following day, and the next thing I knew, by April 24, I was emailing a friend to tell him I’d just finished writing my first hundred pages.
That was back in 2002.
The countdown is on
I’m only a five-year-old writer because in 2006, shortly after I’d completed volume #1 of my novel-in-progress, I gave up writing for the next six years.
I didn’t write a single word of fiction during that time. Neither did I read any books or blogs about writing craft. Or edit (or even open) my volume #1 manuscript.
My entire writing life went into a state of suspended animation wherein the sole writerly pursuit I can truthfully claim is that I would occasionally think about my novel – about how “someday” I should write the other half and try to turn the whole thing into something worth publishing.
And now, seven years and 200 more pages later, that goal feels more achievable today than it ever has in my life. This even though I still have two more major milestones to reach (page 300 and, approximately another 60 pages after that, the end of the first draft of the story).
For the first time, rather than being a daunting novel that grew into two and seemed it would never be completed amongst full-time work, my protracted 400-words-a-night writing sessions, a multi-year hiatus, and my partial abandonment of the story’s original outline, I can truly foresee the day when I’ll finally type “The End”.
And that day, just as I set out as one my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013, is coming this year.