Yeah, I've let myself down. But that's okay. Life is not a race, and while I'm not proud of missing my own goals, at least I'm not quite dead yet. Every writer has his or her own process, and mine happens to be a crock pot instead of a pressure cooker.
It's just that sometimes I do get frustrated, especially when I compare myself to other writers. Some of them write a million words, or 3 books, a year. Some of them have been getting 3 or 5-book deals lately. While I applaud and cheer their successes, certainly they're giving me a complex. Sure, I can talk myself into believing that I'm writing the next To Kill a Mocking Bird -- and Harper Lee only needs one book! Other times I think I'm just fooling myself. I'm no Harper Lee and TTT is not TKaMB. Don't get me wrong -- I love my manuscript, and even though it's still in very rough form, I'm very excited about the story and, most important, the characters. Still, at this rate, my characters will be aging in real time (the story spans 40 years). I suppose by the time I'm 90 years old, the story will be ripe for the picking.
But that's not the important part. Even if TTT is never published, I've set a goal to finish it, and finish it I will. That was the same goal I set when I started writing The Pacific Between. I wanted to see if I could finish what I started -- and THAT is an important goal all by itself for any writer: FINISH WHAT WE STARTED. I did, not knowing whether it was good enough to ever get published. Then I set my next goal, dipping my cold feet in the icy water, to see if anyone would want to ever publish it. Behler did (bless them).
So, here is the reality of novel writing: it's work; it may not be smooth sailing every day, or even every week or year; and one step at a time. My biggest hurdle now is myself, trying to push myself to finish the darn thing. Once I'm done, I think I will feel better about it.
I'm probably about 4/5 done now. So close. So close.
OK, here's my new goal: I'll finish the first draft by my birthday. I think it's very realistic, even considering how slowly I write.