I set out to write my current Work-in-Progress roughly a year ago. I cannibalized various abandoned projects in drafting my initial outline, including a wholly new tale invented for this project. The book was a Frankenstein’s Monster of ideas that have become simultaneously both larger and more intimate, and that scares the shit out of me.
The first words of the book were written on January 1st of this year. I can’t tell you the weather offhand, and it doesn’t matter, but I can tell you it was a Monday. I came home from work–probably around 1930. My wife had off from work, and she had just started dinner when I walked through the door. My dogs (only just the two at the time) welcomed me by jumping on me the moment I walked in from the garage. I kissed my wife and sat down in the office to write.
When I began the book, I had a rough idea of who my two main characters were. I knew how they met, major events in their early relationship, and major events in their individual lives, and even major events throughout the course of the relationship. I knew the book was going to be third-person omniscient, and many other factors about the narrative.
So, I began writing the book. My goal was one page per day–a goal which soon shifted to a page per day I do not work. Chapter One took a month to write, then another month for Chapter Two. I then spent another month completely re-writing both before I moved on. Most days, I kept up my routine of a page a day. Some days, I was lucky and produced more, but I typically averaged a page a day. All of it is garbage, but it is progress toward the end goal.
In August, I began to challenge myself to write at least one page a day. The minimum goal in September would be two pages, 1000 words in October, and finally 1,500 words in November (NaNoWriMo was my inspiration for this goal, though I will not be participating this year because it would be cheating, per the rules). I was motivated to finish the book.
With my self-imposed challenge, I was suddenly 1/5 of the way through my outline. The end seemed in sight: I could feasibly finish the book by the end of the year. I began to add more notes to my character file to add into the narrative in some form upon editing (the two main characters alone take up 24 pages).
I made certain decisions early on that have altered the narrative. A subplot has suddenly become the main story, and the original story of the book has been shunted to the side. Okay, all of this still works within the confines of my outline, though I’ve made a few minor adjustments. No big deal, right?
No, it is a very big deal. It is a big deal because it hit me today that at just over 200 pages, this book is already looking to be at least twice that length by the time I am finished, and it suddenly hit me that I am, for the first time, afraid of what others will think about the book. The thought is daunting because I am not writing this book for any other reason than I feel it is a tale that needs told, and I am afraid of fucking it up.