This month marks a year since I started my first novel. I'm still working on it. The story framework is more or less set, though there is still one fairly substantial plot hole, and there's a lot of detailing and refinement still to do. Right now it sits at about 62,000 words. At one point it was over 90,000. When finished, I think it will run 70,000 - 80,000 words.

The problem? I'm getting tired. I want to finish the bloody thing already. It's a good book; I don't want to give up on it simply out of fatigue. Any words of wisdom from those of you who have finished a novel? How do you keep yourself going those last few grueling yards?


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I read this quote when I'm discouraged about motivation: One must be pitiless about this matter of “mood.” In a sense the writing will create the mood. If art is, as I believe it to be, a genuinely transcendental function – a means by which we rise out of limited, parochial states of mind – then it should not matter very much what states of mind or emotion we are in. Generally, I’ve found this to be true: I have forced myself to begin writing when I’ve been utterly exhausted, when I’ve felt my soul as thin as a playing card, when nothing has seemed worth enduring for another five minutes…and somehow the activity of writing changes everything. Or appears to do so. Joyce said of the underlying structure of Ulysses – the Odyssean parallel and parody – that he really didn’t care whether it was plausable, so long as it served as a bridge to get his “soldiers” across. Once they were across, what does it matter if the bridge collapses? One might say the same thing about the use of one’s self as a means for the writing to get written. Once the soldiers are across the stream…

Joyce Carol Oates

Another is a quote from Paul Taylor, the Choreographer: "Inspiration is for amateurs. All you need is a deadline."

Of course, I'm not always able to live by these. Sometimes I'm just tired.


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