I'm sitting in a chair in front of the large sliding glass doors in our room at Wrightsville Beach. I smell saltwater and the surf is pounding the sand on the beach below me. There is a man throwing a stick into the ocean and what looks like a large and very happy Golden Retriever is bounding into the waves after it. An old man, back hunched over, is jogging slow and steadily toward the pier a mile away. And a boy of about 10 is flying an orange kite.
It's been a lovely weekend. I've written over 6,000 new words and I think have figured out some missing pieces to my opening chapters. I was telling my friend Bernie that what I've enjoyed about this weekend is that it's allowed me to be completely in my story. I'm not writing anything else so I'm not thinking or worrying about anything else. My characters are fresh in my mind and I'm hearing dialogue even when I'm not writing. Although I"m looking forward to being home and seeing Blair, I'm sad to leave the world of my book behind.
Because I don't focus on the story at home like I've done this weekend. And really, I have no excuse not to. We chose our priorities in life and if I wanted writing this novel to be a priority, I would make it one. But I haven't, which speaks to where my mind is. And I know part of not choosing that is fear. It's easier to talk about wanting to finish your book than it is to finish it. Because what if you finish it and it stinks? It's a common fear among writers and want to be writers. The difference is that the real writers suck it up, write the words, and deal with the chance of them "stinking." After all, that's why God created rewrites.
I'd love to say I'm going to go home and work on my novel 3 hours each day, but I don't feel that's true. But I am motivated to at least try to bring more structure to my time spent on it. Right now, I work on my novel on Wednesday mornings for about 2 1/2 hours. I would like to write a certain number of words each day until the book is complete, then spend a certain number of hours each day editing.
So let's try that. 1,000 new words a day. They don't have to be great words and they don't have to be the final words. Just words. I should be able to knock out 1,000 words in an hour or so each day.
I'll report in later to see how it goes.. Meanwhile, it's almost time to pack up and say goodbye to the beach.