100 Days to Write a Novel

A friend of mine has undertaken the task of writing a novel in 100 days. May I simply say, Bravo.

I say this in a very complimentary way, but because she’s writing a daily blog about it, it reminds me a little of “Julie and Julia”. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve actually seen it, but my wife insisted, so I caved. Happy wife, happy life.

There’s bound to be a wide variety of varying opinions on a project like this. I think there are some serious considerations. My first concern would be the quality of work. If you’re rushing it, aren’t you doing a disservice to your art? Aren’t you risking producing a less-than-quality product because of some desire to finish something?

Bottom line, at the end of 100 days, she will have the first draft of a novel (I believe in her, by the way). That’s an amazing accomplishment, one thousands of “writers” have never accomplished. Most “writers” spend more time talking about writing than actually doing it. She is doing it.

It’s no secret where I stand on the issue of disciplined writing, the “habit of art” as Flannery O’Connor calls it.

Of course, the next step is revision. Whether or not she’ll set a deadline for that is up to her. But I’m still very excited about this prospect, and I’ll say this: She’s got a good thing going.

Stephen King talks a little about the discipline of writing. In his book, On Writing, he mentions that the longer you’re not writing, the harder it is to get back in to it. The more diligent you are with writing every day (even if it’s a little bit), the more grounded you are in your fiction, in the fictive dream that you’re creating. Continuity comes more naturally. You don’t have to constantly double check each character’s eye color—you know it, because you’re living it.

When you’ve got some time, stop by her blog and check it out. It’s worth it.

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