2012 was a very productive year.  I published two full length novels, a short story, and a novella.  Add to that, the four novels I have in process on my laptop and someone could get the impression that I write every time I get a spare moment.

That is not the case.  My first novel probably took me four years to polish and publish.  The second one was easier, but I had a portion of that one written before I published the first book.  I also had a portion of my new novella written – it took me three weeks to tighten it up and proof it.

The lesson for me is this:  It’s not about writing a novel from start to finish.  It’s about writing down all of those little ideas until I have enough to complete a story.  I write complete scenes, and I don’t always know where the characters or story are going next.  I write until I’m stuck and then I put it away for a few hours, days, or weeks until I get inspired again.

In the meantime, I might open another story I’ve been working on and write a little on that.  I might even start a new one if I’m so inclined.

When I feel like I’ve finally written everything I want to on one story, that’s when I start to really tighten up my novel and pay attention to word usage, pacing, grammar, punctuation, and all of the other technical things.  If I bog myself down in those things before the story is finished, I just end up frustrated.  Once I enter the editing phase, the other things I’m working on are ignored so I can focus on completing the one that’s done.

My eventual goal is to finish all of the manuscripts that I have started.  If I don’t stop starting new ones, I’m going to be at this for the next six years and that doesn’t sound so bad to me today.

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