Manuel S.

An Odyssey, Some Coffee, a Cupcake, and Aching Hands


On January 21, 2013, at two in the morning, after drinking countless cups of coffee, I finished my eight novel Perfume at 100k words. After nearly three months of hard work, I was completely excited to finish it! It was also my first time reaching 100k words, so that only added to the excitement. But, of course, those three months hadn’t been particularly easy-peasy. That three month journey to finishing my eight novel (or any novel, really) can be easily compared to Homer’s The Odyssey, only there were no Cyclopes hurt in the process. Yet still, I survived to tell you my story. Thankfully.

I started the novel (Inspired by Hilary Duff’s video for “With Love” and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream ) during mid-November, 2012, after giving up my NaNoWriMo project. The idea for the novel had been in my head for nearly six years, so it was something I was fairly familiar and comfortable with. It was a story I had narrated to my brother throughout the years, almost as if it was a fairy tale or a tale from the Civil War. It didn’t occur me to write it down until the year 2012. Anyhow, I finished the part one out of three of the novel on Thanksgiving break, and continued to work on part two during December.

Before completing part two, however, I went through some major writer’s block. It came toward the last few chapters of the part, and during the first few days of the years. A thought stroke me. An evil little thought that said: “you haven’t written a single word. It’s the beginning of the year and you have written nothing.” And also, I felt like my words were forced and trite. I hated it. And the doubts began…perhaps my novel wasn’t good at all…perhaps I was being silly by thinking I could do justice to the idea…or perhaps…perhaps…perhaps I wasn’t even meant to be a writer. The latter made me want to hide in bed with a book and never crawl back out.

So for a few days, I worked on another novel, completely giving up on Perfume for the moment.

On day, though, I was tagged in a Facebook post by someone who had read and edited the first part of my book. They loved it, praised my writing style, and asked me if I had more. Immediately, I said yes and got back to working on the novel, making it my personal deadline to finish it by the end of January.
I worked pretty much without stop during the month of January. The only problem I had was that a lot of the events in the last part of the book were getting mixed up in my head, but a quick outline fixed that. School, projects, and essays got in the way, but that didn’t halt me. And then the three-day weekend we had been given thanks to Mr. Martin Luther King Jr., I sat down before my computer, determined to write the concluding chapters and epilogue of the book. I drank coffee, I typed, I cried, I cried, and I cried. And I finished it. I did. And now, I am currently outlining the sequel, which I am completely thrilled to start working on!
I was so close to giving up, but a little encouraging got me through. And the thing is, writing a novel is not always easy. The words don’t always flow. But you’ve got to try. How will you know if your novel is going to be the next Twilight or Hunger Games if you cannot even finish your first draft? Encourage yourself to do it, set goals you can accomplish, even if it’s one page per day. Hey, if you do write one page per day, you will have a 364-paged novel by the time the year is over! How cool is that?!?! Also, grab a cupcake or a cookie or your choice of indulgence, and set it down next to your laptop. Tell yourself that you can have that delicious little fattening thing once you finish a chapter. And don’t cheat. I AM WATCHING YOU (Just kidding!).

It’s easier said than done, I understand, but it can be done. If you put all your work and effort into it, you can do it! The journey might be hard, and full of bumps and evil plot bunnies that will try to avert you from your original course, but if it was easy, then everybody would be able to do it. So when you finish your manuscript, when you type those last two words, THE END, at the end of your book, when you wipe the sweat off your brow with your aching and cramping hands, give yourself a round of applause (If you can. If your hands are to cramped to clap, then don’t be afraid to let out a loud, enthusiastic “YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!) because you have accomplished something not many people can do. And that’s an amazing accomplishment, darlings. Be proud.

Oh, and go brag about it on Facebook. Let’s not forget that one.

-MS

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One thought on “An Odyssey, Some Coffee, a Cupcake, and Aching Hands

  1. I love the feeling when you’ve finished a novel and you’re one step closer to having people read the story that’s been simmering in your imagination for so long. It is truly amazing, congratulations!

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