Towards the end of last year I spent a good deal of time thinking about how and what I write. I feel like a lot of good insights out that exercise. As a result I’ve set a bunch of goals for myself in 2017 based on what I learned. More than one of those goals will push me well outside of my comfort zone. I read somewhere that’s how you know you’re doing it right. And so, I’m kicking off 2017 with a new writing project!
There was just one thing I had to do before I could break ground on it. I had to learn how to and be okay with setting my existing work-in-progress aside for a little bit. For the past four years I’ve been working on a book called Mountain Division. It’s been a labor of love. Emphasis on labor. Realistically Mountain Division‘s first draft is about 60% complete. A roadmap to the end is in place, but finding the motivation to put pen to paper and grind out the remaining 40% has been hard to do and I’ve really struggled with that.
Eventually, frustrated by my lack of progress, I started asking and reading around. I found other writers have had this problem. Obviously. In many ways struggling to write is the defining characteristic of a writer. (I wish I was joking.) The question is how to address it.
My answer arrived a story I remembered from an old episode of the A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment podcast. I wish I could remember exactly when in which episode best-selling author Jess Walter commented that his book Beautiful Ruins sat unfinished on his shelf for nearly a decade before he returned to finish it. (Now that I say that, I’m desperately trying to find the actual quote to back that up but I’m just going to roll with it.)
So I forced myself to a point in which I’m okay tabling Mountain Division for an undetermined amount of time. The trick is, one my my lofty goals for 2017 is to complete the first draft of the novel. That means I need a new project.
Luckily over the past two months I’ve been quietly noodling away on a new story idea. In some ways it blends all of the things I’ve written in the past as well as a couple of very new concepts. Most importantly I feel confident in the fact that I have something to say through this novel. Previously I’d written with entertainment in mind. Obviously I hope that this new project will be entertaining. But I hope that the audience is able to find something a little more than that in the pages.
I tend to get overly excited about the projects I’m working on and will inevitably begin sharing more from this one. The rest of this month will be spent finishing up the bedrock of research and plot notes needed for me to break ground on the draft in February. Once that happens I’ll start talking more about the general plot and some of the characters involved. I will leave you with this incredibly vague little tidbit:
My new project will be the story of a group of strangers who find the answers to their own distinct questions in the same life-changing event.
So what fun projects are you working on in the new year? Drop a comment below and let me know what it is and how I can keep up on it!
Until next time,