When a book is taking too long to write…

Nine years ago I started working on something I’d wanted to do for a long, long time: Write a vampire novel.

I had the idea for it. I was ready.

And then a lot of things happened:

My dad died.

I got laid off.

I started a business.

I wrote a totally different book.

My mom got dementia.

My business got busier and busier.

I wrote another totally different book.

I got married.

My mom died.

In between it all, I tried to pluck away at my novel here and there. But honestly? It felt pretty pointless when life kept pulling me in so many other directions.

Many days, it felt hard to focus. Or, I was distracted by other projects and plans that either felt more inspiring in the moment, or required my immediate attention.

It’s hard to write a novel when your head feels full and you don’t seem to have full access to very much privacy or down time.

Finally, things got a bit quieter. I had some time and space to actually get my head back into this vampire book.

At that point, all I wanted to do was finish it. That was my only goal at the time.

For years I had carried the story in my head and I was ready to let it out.

I worked on it as consistently as possible. Even though I’d written books before, I was surprised when I finished it: It had felt like the Impossible Project for so long. I had been so concerned with just getting it done I hadn’t thought about what might come next.

I needed distance from it and didn’t know what I felt about it at that point. After some months had passed, I decided to let someone else read it. (No one had read any of it until then.) I found a few beta readers. They liked it!

Then I took it to a manuscript workshop for more rounds of readers. They liked it, too! And provided me with very valuable feedback. Late last year, I decided to seek out publication for my novel that was no longer the Impossible Project but instead the Little Book That Could.

Last week, I got my author proof from my publisher, Manta Press.

In October, this book will be a real, actual thing. I’ll share more about that soon. (But for now, pre-order for the e-book version is open.)

But for now, for those who need to hear it: Keep going. Writing is really hard. Focusing on the finish line helps.

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