Posted by: oneyearbook | March 18, 2010

A silent milestone

On Monday, without fanfare or comment (from me or anyone else, although on my part I was aware of the date and just chose not to comment), my ‘year’ finished.

Yes, I officially began on March 15 – which was also a Monday – and I suppose the experiment ‘officially,’ if you will, ended this week.

First, let’s get the obvious, and most unpleasant aspect of this all out of the way: I have not, in fact, written one book in one year, as the masthead of this business seems to promise you. In fact I have produced the first draft of one novel, a novella-written-in-three-days, and about 60,000 words, give-or-take, from various sections of a draft of another novel, which I am still, I promise, working diligently on. I also wrote the first drafts of about five short stories and polished and refined two of them.

I would like to note, for the sake of accuracy, that what was intended to be a year off from work (at least, most especially, from full-time work) was in the end not even close to that: I wrote full-time from March 15 to late July, worked full-time until the end of August, and wrote full-time again until three days before Christmas, when for $$$-related reasons, I returned again to the 40-hour workforce, where I have been ever since. By my count I’m short of eight months by a couple weeks.

Excuses, excuses, you cry. A novel was promised!

Just kidding, no-one’s bugged me about this or anything. Mostly I’ve just bugged myself. How sure was I, a year ago, that I could write a novel in a year? I think I would have put my confidence at close to 100 per cent, but I’ve become aware lately that I tend to overestimate things, often quite badly. My expectations are often not aligned with reality. Which, I contend (and will continue to contend) is probably the only way to progress; but it still leads to let-down more often than not.

Honestly, the days around the 15th were filled with a number of ‘bad news’ moments on the writing front, including my first real rejection note for a short story. (I promise to frame it and begin a collection – isn’t that the way forward with these things?) But then again, the last couple of days have been filled with a number of breakthroughs on the novel front, both ideas-wise and in actual words written.

Yes: I am still writing the novel. It’s not as if I’ve given up on it; it’s just that I didn’t write it in a year. I have every intention of finishing it. This time, though, I’m not putting a timeline on that. I guess I can stop calling the project One Year, One Book. Now I’m just going to call it One Book. That’s a pretty big goal, anyway. And one I think I’m up for.



  1. I was totally going to bug you about this!
    Then I figured you’d be on yourself enough 🙂

    • Well now I know someone was paying attention … good thing I said something, otherwise you’d have thought I was hiding my shame away. 🙂

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