Justin Tadlock

I will write a novel

Man adjusting typewriter. A page sits in the machine on a white table. There's a cup of coffee to the left and a phone sitting to the right.

I stepped outside and away from my porch this morning (I usually work on the front porch, breathing in the fresh air). I picked up a rake and gathered fallen red oak leaves into small piles that my cats are now frolicking in. Another pile seems to be the new, designated litter box.

I needed the movement. My muscles have had little work for the past three weeks outside of walking around the house and carrying the daily 5-gallon pail of water to the chickens and ducks. For the most part, I’ve been firmly glued to my chair on the porch.

I even made some coffee, which is not something I do often. I like coffee, but I tend to go on coffee-drinking binges where I’m slurping 32-ounce iced mochas at 2 a.m. and skipping whole nights of sleep. So, I limit myself to the heavenly concoction of fresh-ground coffee with chocolate or caramel or hazelnut to special occasions or just the random cup once in a while.

Yesterday, I completed my 19th day of National Novel Writing Month. That’s NaNoWriMo for those of you who haven’t followed my blog or have somehow missed the craze all November where people are posting daily word counts.

I finished the day with 34,275 words of NaNoWriMo’s challenge of 50,000 for the month. I’m in a good position at this point. I’m ahead of where I need to be and only have 15,725 words left to finish in the next 12 days (including today). If I keep up with my current pace of 1,803 words/day, I’ll have 2 days to spare. That’s good because I’m coming up on the busiest days of the month at the end of this week.

I can feel this NaNoWriMo win in my gut. I’ve come too far to let something like Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Saturday’s Iron Bowl get in the way of crossing the 50K finish line and overcoming this challenge. After pushing through that stomach virus earlier in the month, this should feel like child’s play.

The novel I’m currently working on may never see the light of day. It needs a lot of work. I’ve changed so many things that anyone reading it now would think I’m hopping between alternate universes where one character is being portrayed by their doppelgänger from one chapter to the next.

Even though this work is so disjointed, I have a feeling that it’s the start of something bigger for me. I know for a fact that I have it within me to write a novel if I’m determined to do it. While I’m some 15K words away from completing the challenge, I already feel like I’ve won.

Aside from Pro WP Plugin Development, I’ve never written something this large in scope. And, I’ve certainly never written this much toward a work of fiction.

My fiction writing professor in college told the class on the first day the answer to the question that everyone would want to ask her by the end of the course—“Do I have what it takes to be a novelist?” She told us that every single person in that room had the talent to do it. But, it’s only the ones who put in the work that will actually become a novelist.

This is me putting in the work. I may have taken a few years of vacation, but I’m here now.

I am going to write a novel.