Ooooh, It’s Time Prepare to Write

Carolyn’s Online Magazine  (COMe)


(Part 1: 1/3 of the 3 month writing commitment

Ooooh, It’s Time to Rise…to Prepare to Write: Part 2)



I rolled over in bed and snuggled all of me except one arm in the warm blankets. My one exposed arm reached out to the gray furry mass curled up beside me. My hand rubbed his belly, and as if on cue King rolled over on his back, basking in my attention.08 150120 IMG_6179EI’ve got to get up. I have a commitment to write three hours every day between January 15 and March 15—or was it April 15? If I can do this I might complete the first draft of my novel.

Ooooohhh, get up, lazy bones.

East Lamoine, Maine

East Lamoine, Maine

The WordPress daily prompt for February 11 (today) is First Light: Remember when you wrote down the first thought you had this morning? It referred back to the WordPress prompt of February 27, 2013. I suppose some bloggers are more organized than I am, but I don’t recall if I wrote my first morning thought down that day. Most likely, I didn’t.

Thus, I will go with the first thought I had this morning—which might not be far from the thought I woke up with in February 2013.

061007-09EI’ve been working on this challenging historical (romance) novel since 2000. It evolved slowly, somewhat because during the past 14 years I’ve had great chunks of time taken away from my writing:

  • 4 extended trips to New England;
  • cleaning out my brother in law’s house following his death (he lived by the St. Lawrence River in Northern New York—a hefty drive from near Pittsburgh, PA)—my husband Monte held his power of attorney and was in charge of his estate;
  • problems with property;
  • personal health issues;
  • completing a major magazine article requiring much research.

It didn’t help that each chapter, or part of a chapter, required much research. I began the novel being totally ingnorant of the history involved, and the learning curves were sometimes unsurmountable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing tired of “life” stealing such huge chunks of my time I determined that in 2015 I would claim three months—just three months—as mine, as an opportunity to complete my first draft. I set up some guidelines. During this time I would

  • write on my novel 3 hours a day
  • write the book from beginning to end, not jumping from scene to scene
  • not concern myself with “edited” style writing, only that the writing is decent
  • not research factual questions or details
  • highlight it in color to return to in the rewrites. I would not research data
  • write along as if I were participating in a NANOWRITMO project.

d'EPREMESNIL  010355eThe experience is mind boggling. Today I completed the third of my 12 week time claim. I’m 25% on my way to the finish line. So how have I done?

So far I’ve been pretty successful. There has only been one day I have written nothing. I had an afternoon meeting and an evening event. I gave myself the day off. Most days I’ve put my three hours in. Some days I’ve written longer, a few days I’ve written less.

I discovered that in starting and stopping the novel numerous times I’ve written the some scenes several times. The writing these days involved consolidating the different versions into one unit.

Some days the material already written was simply reviewed to recall the events. Other days I discovered truly messy or incomplete writing. Still other days I found myself writing from scratch.

One set of facts appeared in three or four different spots. I had to decide where to keep it.

During the first 25% of my time I’ve accomplished the first section of my novel. The easy part. Most of it was written and just needed rewriting.

There were a few days that I felt the writing was a chore and I wished it over with so I could do something else. At these times I tell myself It’s only for three months. Other times I wonder if I was insane to begin this novel, or even more insame to keep writing it.

I was surprised to discover how those three hours a day—every day— of intense writing made me feel like I’ve taken on a full-time job. Much of my energy and time is taken with this discipline. Most days I end up very tired, having no energy to accomplish other of my life’s activities. I have put aside two articles I’m committed to writing. My house is becoming more cluttered (OK, those of you who know me, quit snickering. My house CAN become more cluttered.) I find I’m not spending time with people or going out into the community.

But then it is January and February, the months I like to hibernate from winter’s cold and snow.

The Narrows between Maine's mainland and Mt. Desert Island

The Narrows between Maine’s mainland and Mt. Desert Island

The time to work on the middle section of my novel has arrived. It involves a tangled web of historical events that include the first Wall Street crash, the ruination of some land speculators, contracts being renegotiated numerous times—and more.

(Sounds boring, doesn’t it? It’s my job to bring it to life and draw you in.)

I’ve written very little in this section due to the difficulty of the material and the need to transform the events from being a history text to being a novel. So many things occur within a four month time that it will be difficult to avoid writing a litany of history. I’ve dreaded reaching this point, but now I’m there. I acknowledge the writing will progress much slower, and need far more rewriting.


I wonder how the first draft of my novel will be at the end of the second quarter of my time, March 4. I suspect I will need the third 25% of my time to finish writing this section. And perhaps much of the last 25% of my time will be spent plowing through this section.

Regardless, if I get that far—with the final chapters, written in a different vein, left to write later—my time will be a success.

Aaaaaahh, ‘tis time to call it a night, to relax for a short while.

The load of laundry will wait until tomorrow, the dining room table will remain hidden for another day, the stacks of papers growing all around me will wait for my attention, and the dust kittens will continue to grow…because a good night’s rest will allow me to wake up tomorrow morning with my first thought being…

Ooooohhh, it’s time to get up and prepare to write more of my novel today.

Proceed to Ooooh, It’s Time to Rise…to Prepare to Write: Part 2 which asks Why would anyone want to take more than a decade to write a novel?

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at My novel site is
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8 Responses to Ooooh, It’s Time Prepare to Write

  1. Sounds to me as though you have accomplished a great deal! Keep up the good work and and please continue to update with your progress. You’re an inspiration!


    • Thank you for your encouragement…I’ll do occasional updates…How have you been?


      • I’m well thank you! Have stayed busy…I’m currently getting the house ready for the market, hopefully in April. I’m headed back to California….not very fond of the snow. I too have started writing again…I’ve committed myself to at least one hour a day…I’ve remained faithful so far. Baby steps!


      • I’m sorry to hear you are leaving. I like the snow—but I don’t have to go out in it very often. I find it’s good writing time.
        Perhaps sometime you could join our writers group. They are so encouraging.


  2. Grace ( & Fred) Wells says:

    Sometime this year I hope Monte will write a story on “What its like to be married to Carolyn, the novel writer” !

    Liked by 1 person

    • First he has to write about Carolyn the: student, adoption caseworker, family home day care provider, abuse counselor, …then he can write about Carolyn the writographer, the “independent historian,” the novelist.


  3. Pingback: Happy Pancake Poem! | litadoolan

  4. Pingback: Traveling Places Through My Novel | Carolyn's Online Magazine

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