You’re down to the last stretch—the final seven days of July.
Writing a novel is an emotional roller coaster. Maybe a physical one too, if you’re exhausted from late-night writing and stiff from your permanent slouch in front of the computer. After three weeks of highs, lows, success, failure, anti-social behavior, exhaustion, and sore muscles … you’re probably ready to get off the ride. Maybe you want off now.
Toward the end of a novel-writing month, I’m tempted to jump off that roller coaster. I look at my messy house, overflowing inbox, and neglected to-do list … and I ache for normality. For balance. For one hour of free time. I want the novel to be done.
It’s not like I hate my story or my characters. I may have doubts about my writing, but I love my characters more than ever.
But when writing a story, it seems like the characters are in my head all the time. I love my husband, yet I don’t want to spend every waking minute with him. The same goes for my characters. After awhile I need a break—some time alone, to just be me.
So in the final week of novel-writing, I get sloppy. I rush through scenes, leaving plot holes in my wake. I skimp on the details and sprint headlong toward that finish line.
Not that I usually recommend such brashness. But if you can’t avoid it—you’re not alone. At this point, I think reaching the end is more important than perfect form. Never forget: the first draft is not the final draft. In the second (or third, or fourth …) draft, you can always fix your sloppy ending.
Whatever you do, don’t give up now. Think of what you’ve accomplished so far. Some people spend months, if not years, writing a novel. Many people start a novel and never finish it. But you are so close to finishing a novel in one month. So close, you can almost taste sweet victory.
No matter what happens, this is an experience you’ll never forget. You’ve come so far, learned so much. All the mistakes and revelations of this first novel will improve your future novels. You. Are. A. Writer.
Thank God for that.