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Milestone or Millstone

Twenty Thousand words. Probably 1/5th or 1/6th of the way through the first book of my series.  According to my Writer’s software, Scrivener, this translates to roughly 121 pages.

What a Milestone. So many words…From Me! Who would have thought when I started the first sentence. An actual story is unfolding, characters are coming to life, and I actually have a plot developing. Where did it all come from?

“Me of course,” My Muse is never shy about taking credit.

“And exactly why should you get all the credit?” You have to stand up to her or she will walk all over you.

She plopped into the chair, with one leg draped over the arm, sucking on a Popsicle. This is one reason I know that even though the Muse and I are all part of the same physical entity, the Muse really is also something separate from Me. I HATE Popsicles!

She pulled out the Popsicle and in a tone as cold as the Popsicle itself she told me, “I created it.”

“You mean we created it.” I was getting mildly irritated.


Not a very powerful comeback for someone so creative I thought with a smile. “It is the result of us working as a team, along with Lou Grant (the third part of our internal triad), to generate every word.”

” But without me it wouldn’t happen”. Okay so not mildly irritated anymore.

“Whatever” I didn’t need this tonight. No arguments. It is celebration time.

So back to milestone. Twenty thousand words and more to come. I just need to stay focused and try to keep up with my goal of 500 to 1,000 words a day (on average).

But last weekend my youngest daughter graduated from college. Congrats Sweetie. She did great — dual majors AND got her Teacher’s Credentials. For those of you that don’t live in California — this is REALLY hard. You need to take nine different State exams. Most people take at least five years. She did it all in Four. Am I a little proud – damn right! But more importantly she grew into quite a fine young woman who is practical and intelligent, with lots of compassion, and focused in the right areas. That makes me even more proud than any other accomplishment.

Okay enough of the proud father stuff. However the impact was that I did not write for nearly a week. But that is okay. I figured that would happen. What I didn’t plan on was how hard it would be to pick right back up and start writing again.  I did get about a 1,000 words written this week, but I struggled. I think I will be able to get back on track next week. In the mean time Mister Doubt wiggled his way into my mind.

I started looking at being maybe 20% of the way through the book to looking at having to still write 80% of the book. And this is just the First Draft.

So all of sudden the Milestone began to feel like a Millstone around my neck. I started this Blog and a lot of my friends know I am writing a novel, so all of sudden I have a lot of people always wondering how I am doing with my writing.

“Oh quit whining,” ah she must have finished the Popsicle. “Your just being self-conscious. Hey, didn’t you say in a recent Blog that there is a website for insecure writers?”

“Yes, but I don’t see the point.”

She actually laughed, “You definitely need to join that website.”

“Very funny”. Though there was probably more truth in that then I wanted to admit.

Her eyes narrowed and she pushed the hair back to either side of her head. Seriously she asked me, “Is writing a burden to you?”

Silly question. “No, I LOVE to write.”

“Do you think you are a bad writer?”

“No. There is a friend of mine, another Writer, who has read some of my First Draft and assures me that I am not bad. They even said it was pretty good. So no, regardless of Mr. Doubt stumbling around in the back of my head somewhere, I do not think I am or will be a bad writer.” It took me quite a while to come to this conclusion.

She sighed in that your an idiot way, “Then how could this be a Millstone. It isn’t a burden. Your own words are that you love writing. And unless you are lying to yourself, you will probably finish the book and it will be decent.” And then she added under her breath If you listened to me more often you would be a great Writer. “So what is your problem. Buck up Buddy and get back to writing.”

That hurt, but she was right. Which I hate to admit more than almost anything. So I guess the smart man not only listens to what he doesn’t want to hear, but also acts on it. Therefore, looking at what I have done so far — woohoo — what a Milestone. 20% of the way through the First Draft. Looking forward to the next ten thousand words.

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