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Setting Aside Time To Work On My Novel Manuscript, by Onil Lad

I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked in the eight months since I started contributing to this blog. My list of excuses includes the usual contenders, such as work pressures and unexpected personal challenges. They’re nothing new and are trials that every other writer has to deal with, but I’ve been struggling to overcome them.

Most of my recent blog posts have been concerned with editing and re-writing previously written chapters. It has been an exercise in papering over the fact that I hadn’t been making progress in creating anything new.

On one of my earlier posts, someone said that I didn’t have what it takes to finish a novel. “Aspiring novelist forever, I reckon” was the phrase used. Although a number of commenters leapt to my defence, the words rang true and in the months since, they have preyed on my mind.

I’m also conscious that I’m running the risk of being the only person in the group to not have a completed novel manuscript by the end of the year.

So, I have taken time off work – at least a month – to focus on writing and getting as close as possible to that elusive first draft.

I want to wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to go. In the evening, I don’t want to feel completely exhausted, with a mind half-full of work issues.  A stressful day gives me the desire to write about and dream about getting away from the rat race, but is not conducive to getting the words down.

Obviously, looking at a healthy bank balance every month helps to numb the pain, but the days drift by and there comes a time when I have to give it a go and forget about the money.

I get inspired by reading and I’ve got a list of material to catch up on.  I think it was Ray Bradbury who said that he liked to immerse himself in poetry, books and art. Whilst working, my reading time was limited to weekends and, even then, it was only weekends where I didn’t have to spend time at the office.

The following books from the backlog have been slated for immediate reading:

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

A friend said that reading McCourt was like having him in the room with you, telling the story. I’d like to study his style.

Kill City Blues by Richard Kadrey

This is the fourth book in the Sandman Slim series. For me, these books are all about Stark, the main character, who rocks. Everything else, including the story, is secondary. It would be great to be able to create such a memorable protagonist.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

He used to be my favourite author. I haven’t read anything by him for a while, but I’m looking for a little bit of magic and, hopefully, a happy ending.

I’d like to slip in another book by Philip K. Dick, for inspiration and the way he gets his message across in the craziest way.

It may well be high hopes and hogwash, but I’m pushing through with it for at least a month to see what happens. Maybe I’ll become a recluse… or maybe I’ll take a giant stride toward finishing my novel manuscript.


Onil Lad’s bio page


Half Moon BayRotten Gods by Greg Barron - Australian novelistA Distant LandThe Fortunes of Ruby White

Writing Novels in Australia

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. marlish glorie #

    Good luck Onil, really really hope you get that ever-so-critical first draft down. Trick is, just to write, and not worry about writing badly as the better writing comes with subsequent drafts.

    August 29, 2013
  2. Harry Gorry #

    After reading this, I felt like calling out loud, ‘Just get on with it!’ When I began procrastinating last time (because that is what it is), I shifted my attention from writing my esteemed first novel, to learning script writing, and completing my story that way. It’s out in the world now, waiting for a keen-eyed producer/director to option it. And now I’m entering short story comps. But guess what? I think that the story in novel form is still my best chance of getting published. So, although the two formats are very different, the return now to novel style has me more committed, stronger and able to overcome the doubts and distractions that seal the fate of so many of us. Stick with it, but maybe try a detour – you never know.

    August 29, 2013
  3. Enjoy your time in the artist’s lifestyle 🙂

    August 30, 2013

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  1. Month In Review (August 2013) | Writing Novels in Australia

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