Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pacing myself

Today I hit the 70% complete mark on my novel. Now for those of you who know how long I've been trying to write it, that may not seem very impressive. But for me it seemed like a huge milestone.

One of the things I have been most concerned about whilst writing was the pacing of the novel. This is the first time I've attempted a piece of work greater than 4000 words. Although I started off with a rough structure...I knew the beginning, the end and the two main turning points in the middle...I have been having to fill in the gaps as I go along. I prefer to work that way rather than having everything planned chapter by chapter, simply because, as the story progresses, the characters themselves can suggest new routes forward. But in some ways it is also scary, as at times I can't see the way and I get blocked for a while. It also leaves me constantly concerned about the pacing of the story, but I suppose we will only be able to judge if that has worked once I reach the end.

I am also having to learn to pace myself in daily life. One of the impacts of my MS is that I can no longer rush around as I used to. I can still walk, often with the aid of a rather pretty walking stick, but I now find that after a day when I have walked a lot I have to have a quiet day at home. Yesterday I walked a lot, but today, when I went into town as I usually do on a Saturday, my legs and even my arms were quite wobbly. It was lucky that I didn't have much shopping to do, as I spent much of the afternoon recovering in Starbucks with a magazine and a dark cherry mocha. I should have known better than to go out two days in a row...

9 comments:

JJ Beattie said...

You're doing brilliantly Cathy. Well done to 70%! Your writing process sounds much like mine too and I'm so close to the end now... We'll both get there. Good luck to you.

Cathy said...

Thanks JJ. Yes, I think we are very similar in the way we write and you getting a mentor and making great progress really spurred me on. We'll both get there :)
Cx

Anne Brooke said...

Well done on such a milestone - that's truly brilliant!! And hope you get the rest you need for managing the MS - sending love & hugs your way Axxxxxxxx

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Pacing yourself will be a good thing, I always think rushing through something will just spark errors. Your progress is great. You should be proud of yourself.

I wish I could follow in your footsteps. Maybe in the new year I will make more effort. My vow of having the novel finished by end of year has been broken; mainly because of my illness.

CJ xx

Cathy said...

Anne - thanks :)

CJ - just take it at your own pace. My writing has always been very much in spurts around my own health and that of my kids.

Cx

Linda said...

Hi Cathy - I am in awe to be honest, I keep saying I am goinbg to start to write the novel friends tell me I should, so I make a few notes then give up. This is not good. I need help! I also need a life but that's a whole different thing...What advice do you have for getting started? x

Cathy said...

Hi Linda, welcome!
I would suggest joining a group of other writers who are actually writing novels...I'm part of the Novel Racers blog group...or, if you can afford it, use one of the mentoring schemes to keep you on track. It does require a huge amount of motivation which I have found hard as I am a slow, pernickety writer. Mind you, your life seems so busy I can see you would have trouble fitting a novel writing in as well :)

Captain Black said...

That's a great achievement. Well done and keep going. Remember, the tortoise taught the hare a thing or two about pacing.

Cathy said...

Too true, Cap'n!