(said in a dramatic tone of voice)
So… my EMA has been submitted, my OU books have been packed away and I find myself looking ahead at a deadline-free future.
This is not good news.
This is because prior to A215, I never finished anything.
I’ve lost count of the number of novels I’ve started and subsequently abandoned. When it comes to stories, I have major commitment issues and this was part of the appeal of A215 – a course with scary tutors and proper deadlines. I would *have* to finish stuff or I would fail – end of story.
True, nothing I submitted for TMAs was novel-length but they were completed works. They were *finished*. I have *finished* several stories. This is a good feeling.
Where do I get my deadlines from now?
I can’t afford to take the level 3 course unfortunately – I’ve gone as far as I currently can with the lovely OU. It’s up to me now… and that’s what worries me.
I need deadlines – some kind of external pressure – or I just won’t do it – it really is as depressingly simple as that. Oh, I’ll write – always – but I won’t finish anything. I’ll just flit from one unfinished story to the next like some kind of demented butterfly, just like I’ve been doing since about the age of 8 when I first started to think that writing my own book would be *fun*.
So, out of necessity, I have come up with a plan of sorts.
The first part of the plan is to carry on writing short stories and to enter these in competitions. The competition deadline then becomes *my* deadline and will hopefully (so the theory goes…) exert enough external pressure to get me finishing stuff. These are what people at my work would refer to as ‘quick wins’.
The second part of the plan is to commit to one novel and *actually bloody write the thing*. This will be harder – I don’t know where the external pressure is going to come from, for starters – but this is an ambition I’ve held for getting on 20 years now and I feel like I owe it to myself to try and make it a reality.
Early in 2011, I set myself the challenge of writing a chapter a week until I had finished a whole novel. I got as far as Chapter 20 (and over 20,000 words) and suddenly lost my momentum. I can’t remember for certain but I think I may have been struck down with flu or a really bad cold. Whatever it was, it stopped my chapter-a-week project in its tracks and, before long, I was onto yet another (short-lived) story.
I’m hoping this blog might be able to help. I’ve seen other blogs where people have a sort of diagram at the side, showing how much progress they’ve made on their novel. If I can get me one of those, maybe the obsession with moving my progress along will overtake my fiction commitment issues? Could be worth a try…
And, who knows: maybe just having it here, in writing, will be enough to spur me on…?