Michelle Wittle On the Great Novel Escape

Michelle Wittle On, Writing Tips

Once upon a time, I wrote a novel in about three days. I never left my computer or my house. I just typed until my hands turned red and my fingernails were just pink soft tissue. For about a week or so after the first draft of the novel, I let people read it. I changed things around a bit. I added scenes and characters…all the usual writing draft stuff.

Then, I stopped playing with the novel. I just left it in my laptop. I did back it up on one of those flash drives some people are prone to wearing around their neck. I knew the novel wasn’t complete; I just needed some time away from it. Also, I had another novel idea brewing and I wanted to write that one out as well.

It’s been about three years and I thought maybe it was time to revisit my first novel. I searched high and low for the flash drive I saved the novel on and each one I plugged into my new computer laughed at me as if to say, “silly girl, your novel isn’t in here”.

I figured it was no big deal because I could just go into my computer’s hard drive and just copy it out of there.

I figured wrong.

My Mac was dying and acting all kinds of crazy, so a few months back I erased all my work from it and put it on those cute hanging flash drives. I didn’t think I erased my novel.

Oh, but I did erase it.

Now I am faced with a bigger problem. I need a completed novel in about two weeks’ time. In my head I think about how easy it was for me to write the first draft of my first novel. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?

You know what I am about to say…WRONG.

Because I have evolved as a writer, it is now more difficult for me to finish a novel in just three days. I am taking the second novel I wrote and I am reworking it. I am about 41,000 words in and I still don’t have an end in sight. The characters are being coy with me. They are making me work extra hard.

In my head the mantra, “show don’t tell” keeps going off every time I just want to write down the scene.  

I am getting tired and cranky.

I need a nap.

But I need a workshop draft more.

So, every day I wake up at 7am and start writing more and more of my novel. I take lunch and bathroom breaks and that is the only time I step away from my writing. My knees hurt and I have a cramp in my leg.

It’s all my fault really. I am the one who said I wanted to be a writer.

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