Why It’s Taking Me So Long To Finish This Book

To my horror, I recently realized I’ve been working on my current novel for two years. This is ridiculous. My first novel, titled Golden Chances, took around 15 months (this book, which beta readers told me picked up in the second half but induced coma-like conditions in the first, sits safely hidden in a box in my closet.) Acts of Desperation took 10 months or so, and I think I wrote Purgatory in six months. There’s no way that the new book (I haven’t thought of a title yet) should have taken this long. So why has it?

I have a few lame excuses good reasons:

  • I’ve had a fairly steady flow of freelance work. Unlike my fiction so far, freelance articles have tended to result in checks showing up in my mailbox. Therefore, I seem to work on them first.
  • Between press releases, blog posts and newsletter articles, I do a lot of writing for my day job. Many nights, I feel like I have nothing left in the tank for fiction.
  • I don’t get as much done in the mornings as I’d like. My alarm goes off at 5:30. I then mutter a few profane words and hit the snooze button. After a second alarm and more profanity, I get up. By the time I’ve poured coffee, fired up the laptop, shaken off the cobwebs and done a certain amount of high-priority stuff like checking email and Facebook, it’s 6:00. This gives me roughly 30 minutes to get creative before a certain floppy-eared friend with a wet nose and sad eyes starts looking for her morning walk. Sometimes I get in a groove in that half hour, other times not so much.
  • I’m not taking advantage of other free time opportunities like I should. Most of my lunch times are free, but I haven’t done as much writing during them as I could have. At home, the siren song of the TV and the hypnotic pull of Twitter make it oh so easy to ignore Mur Lafferty’s voice in my ear saying, “You should be writing.”

Okay, really this all boils down to procrastination. Guess what: Writing good stories is hard. It takes concentration, mental and physical energy, and discipline. Often, when the angel on my shoulder reminds me that I need to work on my book, the devil on the other shoulder says, “I don’t wanna! It’s too hard!” Funny thing: The book hasn’t written itself. Right now, the house is still haunted, the people are still in peril, and my protagonist is still up the proverbial creek without a paddle. This can’t be a great deal of fun for him, and I half expect to open Scrivener some morning to find that he’s left me a nasty message about getting off my butt and finishing the damn book.

Ironically, WordPress is telling me that this blog post is now up to almost 500 words. It’s not 500 words for the book; just 500 words to explain to you why I’m not writing 500 words for the book. See, my fingers can move across the keyboard when they want. They just need my mind to supply them with the will.

I am going to finish this book. It would be wonderful if I could do so before Dragon*Con next month, but one way or another, I will finish it. You heard it here first.

I’ll get right on it at 5:30 tomorrow morning.

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