July 11, 2011

the homestretch

You know when you go on a long road-trip (like one longer than four hours, because I make those on a monthly basis), and the ride toward the destination seems to take twice as long as it should? Or how on those shorter trips it seems to take forever to reach the halfway point between two locations?

We recently took a trip to Florida, an awful fourteen hour drive cramped in the backseat of an HHR with five pillows in the middle seat and little to no scenery. Don’t know how many of you know, the drive between Arkansas and Florida is rather dull. It gets a bit interesting when you get to southern Mississippi with their plantation homes and creepy, Spanish moss covered trees. But then you hit Mobile, Alabama, where the palm trees seem out of place and a bit corny. Then, after half the day is spent, there’s Florida sand and sun, and though you’re exhausted from the drive, you have to frolic in the splashy waves like a three year old, because that’s what you came for.

Then you have the return trip. You’re sunburned. There is sand everywhere (how it got in your pillow, you’re not quite sure). You just want to sleep in your own bed. You’re actually more excited to go home than you were for the vacation. Despite the fact that the trip back home takes just as long as the initial trip, it doesn’t seem that way.

The homestretch is a strange thing. The final leg of a journey has some sort of magical property to it. It’s like Frodo and Sam’s trip to Mount Doom, travelling from Hobbiton, to Bree, Weathertop, Rivendell, Moria, Lothlorien, the Dead Marshes, Ithilien, and then into Mordor. Then, magically, they’re back in Rivendell, and the Shire’s just a short walk away.

Writing is like that for me. Not sure why, but I start writing a novel, and it seems to take forever to reach even 10,000 words. Since I have kept track of my progress with Chroniker City, I know that it took me thirteen days of writing to reach 10,000. Roughly two-and-a-half weeks, assuming I wrote Monday through Friday. In all actuality, I probably didn’t. There were some weeks in the beginning where I wrote only three days out of the week. It took another twelve days of writing to reach 20,000, eight days more to reach 30,000, and six days more to reach 40,000. The plan is to have the novel round out at 80,000 words. I’m halfway done.

I’m on the homestretch.

I sat down to write last Thursday and banged out over 3000 words, like it was nothing. Friday was a bit less productive since I hit a bit of a slow spot, but I still managed about 2000 words. When I started, I was lucky to write 1000 words a day. I averaged about 600 words for the first two weeks of writing. I averaged 2100 words a day last week.

On this side of the word count mountain, the way down looks relatively easy and fun. The other night, I was talking to my husband about the story, and I was literally giggly with excitement. Something about knowing that the end is so close turns me into a lunatic.

With my first novel (the poor thing), I wrote about 1300 words a day consistently until two-thirds of the way through. Then it’s like the dam broke. I wrote 4000-6000 words a day and finished the novel in a mad flurry of sudden progress. The whole time, I was nearly jumping up and down in my chair with excitement. It was intense.

So, even though it took me three months to write the first half of Chroniker City, I have a feeling that the second half will take another four weeks. I could have a finished novel a month from now. Yay!

It’s the homestretch. Next thing I know, I’ll be sipping elf-wine in Rivendell, chatting it up with Gandalf.

Do you have a certain point in writing where you work harder than normal? Is it the beginning, the middle, or the end? What is your writing pattern?


  1. I'm with you on the homestretch. When you can see the end, it makes finishing so much easier. I need to finish getting everything unpacked and cleaned so I can get back to work on my book. I feel like I'm in the homestretch with editing, and if I could just get back to it TSA would be done. Like, finished lol.

    Anywho, good luck!! You're almost finished! :D

  2. Fun post! And so true. I think part of it is that by the time we get to the 1/2 way mark, we've finalized a lot of our story decisions. We know our characters, we've determined the plot, we've worked out a lot of the details. So, now we have to do is run with it. Plus that inviting elf-wine calls. :-)

  3. Cheers to you with a glass of elf-wine! I find that my productivity ebbs and flows--usually strong in the beginning, hits a lull, revs up again, repeat. But I love the point at which I'm getting close to the end--of drafting, of revising, or anything--and can *feel* how close I am. I get a little giddy :)

  4. Kudos to nearing the end of this stage of the journey. The white shores await.

  5. Great post and absolutely true. But for me it's like a rush in the beginning, a lull in the middle and a rush at the end.

    P.S - I used to drive for family vacations from FL to VT every year with both parents, two brothers and a dog every year. It was NOT awesome. Totally feel your pain.