I’ve been working on the same novel for over three years.
That’s a long time.
Taipei Writer’s Group, which I’ve been attending for two years now, has been very patient with me in this regard. I’m guilty of submitting scenes I later toss, scenes only slightly rewritten, and more than once I’ve asked them to view my beginning…again.
I get a lot of (good) advice from the group, most of which is in the lines of just finish the darn thing already. But I’m not worried. I’m not even slightly panicked. I’ve written full novels (this is my fourth!), so I’ve already reached the thrilling milestone of finishing something huge. But for me this novel has never been about just finishing. It’s been about becoming a better writer. Every draft, every experimental and rewritten scene, and every failed rewrite has been about getting my writing to the level where I can read it and not cringe. Where I can read it and be satisfied.
Today I am closer to finishing my novel than I was yesterday, because today I sat down and put in hours despite the fatigue that often plagues me when I commit myself fully to writing while holding down an 8-5 job. I will finish my novel…when it’s ready. And I will be a better writer for it.