So, last night I reached 100 pages in my current WIP! Whenever I reach 100 pages in my book, I celebrate a little. It’s an accomplishment to me, to reach 100 pages and to still not have the ending of the book anywhere in sight. I feel exhilarated, full of excitement because I know that the book will be long, most likely nearly 400 pages. That’s the most exciting part of all, watching the book grow longer, keeping an eye on that word count as it climbs from 20,000 words to 50,000 to 80,000.
What makes this moment so amazing, is all those times you weren’t sure you had it in you. You start with a basic idea, and you know that you can turn it into a story. But will it be long enough for a novel? Will there be enough detail, enough character development, enough drama to fill up the pages? It’s a worry that plagues you, because more than anything you want to see your story in print! You want to share the story of your characters with others, and you want them to enjoy it, just as much as you enjoyed writing about it. When doubts creep in, that’s the hardest time. There are many things out there that could make you doubt yourself.
I’ve been writing for a long time. I was told that I had a gift for it, that I should keep going. So I learned and developed. When I was old enough I joined an online writing group. One of the first things I did was enter one of their writing contests, their big one that they do every year at the beginning of the year. Entering contests is definitely a good thing! But what I learned is that you need to guard your heart, because sometimes judges comments isn’t always what we want to hear. That’s why it’s terrifying to any writer to present their work to another. Because all it takes is one person, even someone you don’t know, can bring you down and make you question yourself. That happened to me, and it was very difficult for me to write again after that. But after the fog of my hurt feelings cleared and I did start writing again, I became determined to enter the contest again next year, and the year after that. I knew I might never win, but deciding to take the helpful tips from kind judges and apply them to my writing, saved me from giving up the thing I love to do most. In the end, entering those contests help me to greatly improve my writing, leading me to the point I’m at today.
Reaching 100 pages is huge to me. That’s when I determine that a story isn’t going to die. When I reach a slump, in any story, and it’s before the 100 page mark, I always begin to wonder if maybe it wasn’t meant to be. If my inspiration for the book can’t last to 100 pages, maybe it’s time to move on to another idea that will. But, I suppose, that’s what pushing forward is all about. If you have a good idea, if you love your characters and you know that you can bring it to a satisfying conclusion, then push on. No matter what anyone says, no matter how difficult it is to hear, apply their knowledge and continue to learn. I’m still learning, even now. I think that’s one of the most exciting parts. The learning never ends.