Novel In 6 with Columbia Writers

2 min read

Recently, I joined a writing program called Novel in 6 offered by my local writing group. If you can’t tell from the name, the goal is to write a novel in six months.

We just finished the second month, and it’s been a real kick in the pants. A real wake up call about what it takes to finish this project, to be the writer I want to be. Because I’m not hitting my writing goal each week.

The program

As mentioned, the goal is to write a novel and just six months. However, the group doesn’t just get you started and then abandon you to the work. Instead, you are organized into groups, and under the direction of a group leader you meet regularly for write-ins and workshops. Our group, cheekily called License to Quill, is lead by the fantastic local author, Deidre Dykes.

There are six writers in License to Quill, and together we’ll first outline and then write the first draft of our novels.

Ambition vs. time

I went into the project aiming to hit 100,000 by August (my birthday month, coincidentally). It took four weeks for me to realize that my goal was too ambitious for my current work-life arrangement. I knocked it down to 50,000, but that number is sitting on me and my morale like an elephant.

After all, one of my goals this year is to finish my manuscript by my birthday–not write X number of words. Finish the first draft of my manuscript.

50,000 words is a lot but I guarantee you it does not finish the first draft of this project.

So I’m at something of a crossroads here. I can keep the lowered goal and the sense of disappointment that comes with it. Or I can take a hard took at my life and my ambitions, and find the time to get the work done.

It’s tough to do the latter–that’s a meaningful change. But I think Novel in Six has been the kick in the pants I needed: I need to prioritize more time in the day to writing at the price of other pursuits, likely leisure time but also other things. Gym time. Sleep time. Chore time.

What changes have you had to make in your life to meet your goals? How did you stick to it?

Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash

2 Replies to “Novel In 6 with Columbia Writers”

  1. Ah, the eternal conflict between what you think you can/should do & those things that you have to do. I submit that this has been a particular challenge for you, as you tend to set some goals that are, perhaps, well beyond your reasonable grasp. While setting goals, even those that are a challenge, is a worthwhile act, setting ones that lead to continual questioning and disappointment may not be the best thing to embrace. Your obligations to your job, your marriage, your health, etc., are the most important. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to write as often as you can…but, it’s the “often as you can” that creates your angst. Lighten up on yourself! You can only do what you can….and don’t compromise on your health, marriage, etc. Keep the main things, the main things….

    1. It’s very true, I have a pernicious habit of piling too much on my plate. I think what I need is some better time management. And lightening up on myself wouldn’t hurt either.

      I think you’re right, the important things come first.

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