Tiny progress — won’t make goal

I finally got my computer set-up moved to a sunnier location with room to spread out the various docs I’m combining and made a little progress on the e-book.   Felt better for getting something done.

Also realized that this, for me, is not a good project to try to do for NaNoWriMo.  There’s a lot already written.  Between blog posts and old essays a great deal of material is there but in different styles and tones.  Some of them are too short and need more material; some are too long and need editing and some new pieces.  And it took this long to figure out I need to quit trying to do this as all one document.   And to quit thinking of it in words written per day terms.

I’ve been re-thinking and taking in that part of my hang-up has been the awkwardness of trying to work on this many pieces all in one document.  Finally the light went on and I realized it would feel so much better to set up docs for each separate piece and worry about copying and pasting them together and counting words later.

So I’ve kind of given up on the writing month yet again.  The good news for me has been that signing up has made me fiddle with all these bits until I could see how to proceed.  It all feels so much better when I think of it as separate pieces that I can organize later into one whole.

I’m curious whether any of you other writers out there ever get hung up on working on a project one way and finally see that there’s another approach that would work better?



7 thoughts on “Tiny progress — won’t make goal

  1. Mine is a similar state as yours. Many pieces already written but trying to figure out format and connections between pieces has been the challenge. I keep going back to stage one – my original concept of chapters based on themes and then get stuck in fitting the already written pieces into the themes. I’m finally grouping on broader themes and then will work on segment titles and the running connections between each theme and within the themes/chapters themselves.

    Good luck!


    • Yes, that organizing piece can be a challenge. I also find it hard when I’ve written big chunks not only to fit in additional material but to make major changes. What I’m really facing at this point is that instead of copying and pasting I probably need to start some of these pieces from scratch and write new material — I think it might be the only way to get the same “voice” through the whole. I’ll be following your progress your blog and cheering you on!


  2. Leigh,
    I’m probably in a somewhat similar place. Right now I’m rethinking my approach to novel writing. I feel that I need a way of pulling together the material. I probably have material for three novels, but all in a jumble of pieces. My goal is to go to the Big Sur’s Writer workshop this fall or next spring. I don’t want to go to the workshop until my novel(s) are in a coherent shape. To be honest, I’m not sure I’m a very good novelist, and if I can’t pull together a novel by the end of this year, I’m probably going to focus my writing efforts elsewhere. I really like my ideas, but may need to pay someone else to write them for me. 🙂


    • Oh amazing goal. I’ve done some editing among my many job hats so if you could use an extra set of eyes at some point, I’ll be happy to take a look.
      I get the “am I a novelist”?” question… I wrote one, have two others in progress and I’m realizing that I may just not be a great writer of fiction. Not helped by the fact that my cousin Mary is the darling of the literati… I have no designs to write that kind of high literature but I don’t want to be a hack either.


  3. There have been times I’ve found myself paralyzed just trying to figure out if I wanted to work from an outline or to go without one. Or any number of tiny, inconsequential things. Writing is a tough game that way sometimes. I think it’s necessary thought because each project is different and demands a different approach.


    • I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets hung up over some of the small steps! Good point about different approaches — I have a tendency to expect every project to work the same…


      • If you’re like me, you end up diving in well before you’re ready. It’s hard to figure out WHEN you’re ready, but you know pretty quick when you AREN’T haha. I’m on a writing hiatus myself. At least, I’m not doing novels. Or blogging (as you know). I’m trying some different things. Like haiku. And flash fiction. And I’m studying the craft and reading more books. Decided screw it, I’m doing fiction and I’m not going to limit myself by genre haha. Sales don’t matter — for me, it’s about writing what I want to write.


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