Never Stop Chasing Your Dreams – Persist and Write Till Christmas

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Write Till Christmas

My life has been all about persistence. I feel like I’ve fumbled my way through everything from work to motherhood, and writing is no different. 

When I opened Word intending to write a novel for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea where that desire would take me. And I couldn’t see how far I would have to come before I got even close to having any of my work published. But isn’t that the beauty of ignorance? It’s bliss to be in the moment, following your inspiration and not worrying about a goal post. 

I wonder, if I had known it would be 11 years before I got something published, would I have even started? Would I have bothered to enjoy the journey I had just begun? 11 years is a long time, so I think it’s safe to say I may not have troubled to finish that first manuscript. But here we are and I’m so glad I followed my heart. 

When you love something, time is but a number. 

I still remember sitting in my backyard, watching my first child toddle around while I enjoyed a slice of the chocolate brownie I’d just whipped up and blogged about being a stay-at-home mum and learning to cook aka Julie & Julia style. 

There were times when I rode that wave of beautiful creative momentum and then there came a time when I had to decide if I was willing to push myself to get to the end of my first manuscript. 

That’s what I want to talk about today. 

It’s great to blog and practice craft on short stories, but if you want to be a novelist then you need to prioritise your novel. Because procrastination comes in many forms, writerly ones too! So don’t be fooled. 

You will know when you are doing that writing course for good reason and when it’s taking time away from your manuscript. Time to read is great for the soul but, do you need to read that many books right now? By all means, I’m not suggesting that learning and reading are a waste of time, I’m drawing attention to the fact that you need to determine how you could best spend your time

Story Grid

I must confess, I recently got lost in the Story Grid wormhole and there was a point when I knew I’d got what I needed out of it but was still trying to create an infographic that resembles abstract art more than anything else and would be of no use to me. See pictured. That is not a swipe at the Story Grid system. All I’m saying is: There comes a time when you have to recognise what you want and when you want it. And YOU have to kick your own butt to make sure you put in the time to get that draft finished by Christmas, have those edits done by November, or send those queries out by next week. 

Some writers use NaNoWriMo for that end-of-the-year push. This year, I’ve decided to finish my draft before the holidays. I’ve promised my agent and gathered a great group of writers who are all here for the challenge - Write Till Christmas.

Write Till Christmas is something I’ve come up with because as much as I love NaNo, I just can’t write 50,000 words this November. But I can write 50,000 words by the end of the year. 

It’s time to take action! 

Remember: If you don’t check yourself, set goals, and plan towards finishing, then procrastination will take hold and before you know it; your writing dreams will push out to next year, when you turn forty, or when you get a yes. But let me tell you, after a yes, you still have to push yourself

An agent's job is to fall in love with a manuscript and get it in front of publishers, they are not going to push you to write your next novel while you are on sub, but that’s exactly what you should be doing. Waiting around for any yes is a waste of time. Take it from someone who’s been in that boat all year. 

 “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller 

Full disclosure, the pending submissions with my current manuscript are rapidly dwindling. Do you know what that means? The road is bending and I’m ready to turn. I’ve recalculated the trip to my dreams, prepared if my first manuscript to go on sub doesn’t sell. 

By working on my next idea, I’ll be organised to go on sub all over again early next year, I’m persisting!  

So who’s with me for Write Till Christmas

Kelly Sgroi is based in Melbourne, Australia. Now represented by Beyond Words Literary Agency, Kelly is thrilled to be out of the query trenches and looking forward to what comes next in her writing journey. She’s also a content writer and an enthusiastic member of the writing community. Some of her short works are published by WOW! Women on Writing, Dream Journal, The Endometriosis Foundation of America, Endometriosis Australia, and a few Medium publications. Her debut manuscript is a women’s fiction story about motherhood.


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I'm with you, Kelly! If I start on November 1 and write through Christmas, I should be able to finish a draft. Trying to do it all in one month has never worked for me.

But it is vital to follow our dreams and part of that is getting the words down.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Super inspiring post, Kelly! I'm with you, too! I'm going to write until Christmas, but I'm working on two separate projects:
1) a speculative CNF for NaNoWriMo with a target of 20,000 words by the end of November
2) a novel I'm going to plot, outline, and start on in December to get ready for a January course: How to Write a Novel, a 101-day complete novel writing course through Reedsy. I'm excited!

Jodi Webb said...

OK, I'm on board. I've been seesawing between two projects but this gives me the incentive to choose one to focus on for the rest of the year.

Renee Roberson said...

I won't be writing anything new (as far as I know, ha ha!) but I will pledge to finish this last round of revisions on my current novel by Christmas! It's at 70,000 words now but can probably use another 15,000. I want to get it into a professional editor's hands by first of year. We can do this!

Kelly Sgroi said...

Sue: Thrilled to have you on board! Let's tortoise our way to the finish line!

Ang: So excited to write with you again! Love your projects and look forward to brainstorming with you and hearing updates!

Jodi: Love your plan! Welcome aboard!

Renee: Great stuff! You can do it and I'm hear to cheer you on!

Naomi Shippen said...

It’s so true that first yes is only the beginning. My publisher told me that the best way to promote my first book was to write my second, and that’s what I’m doing until Christmas. Great motivational post, Kelly, we’ve got to keep setting goals or the time slips away.

Kelly Sgroi said...

Thanks for sharing, Naomi. We need to hear what it's like after publication too, and what aspiring authors don't realise is that it's not that easy to keep writing. We have to push ourselves. Love having you to write with! Let's go!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top