I’ve completed five chapters! The Prologue through Chapter 4, and I’m in the middle of Chapter 5. All of my main characters have been introduced and the main plot has been set in motion. I’m pleased with the progress and the feedback I’ve received.
I’ve posted three mini-excerpts on the blog, which hopefully you have checked out!
Character-wise, this novel is Victoria’s story, but I really love writing Nika Rabdim. My friend Robin described her as a combination of “lady” and “broad,” which fits Nika perfectly. I keep wondering if I’m going too far when it comes to Nika, but the answer is always “no”. She has no internal censor, which is completely opposite of me.
All of this progress makes me feel proud of myself, but whenever people tell me I write so fast, I can’t help but feel somewhat guilty. I have a lot of free time. I don’t have kids, so other than my full-time job and at-times very demanding dog, I can pretty much do whatever I want. Which, right now, mostly consists of writing this book. I take time off to read, watch Netflix, partake in Taco Tuesday shenanigans, and visit theme parks on the weekends. (Starting next weekend, much of that precious Saturday and Sunday writing will be spent at Star Wars Weekends.) I have to take care of my house (which I should be doing right now, but alas). And while I have pretty good time management skills, I sometimes find myself in the black hole of the internet. So it’s not like all I do is write, but I have a lot of flexibility to write when I want to.
So what’s the problem, you ask? You’d kill to have that flexibility. And that, right there, is the problem. Most of my friends don’t have as much time to write as I do. My biggest cheerleader on this project is busy with a full-time job and a toddler. She’s a writer, too, but can only write at night after her daughter goes to sleep, which sometimes isn’t until very late. She has told me numerous times not to feel guilty, that not very long ago she had a bunch of free time, too, and that I should enjoy mine. Other writing friends have similar problems, where they have many more commitments or interests than I do, which equates to less time to write. Or they are still in school and working at the same time.
Because of this, I feel guilty for having all this free time, because feeling guilty is what I do. I’m Italian, and was raised Catholic. Guilt is in my blood. I’ve gotten pretty good at not feeling guilty for things that aren’t part of my control, but other times I can’t prevent it. Is it silly to feel guilty for having more time to write than my friends? Yes. Is it silly to feel guilty for being able to write really fast? Yes. Whenever people tell me that I write fast, I always make an excuse, usually along the lines that all I do is write. And while that’s somewhat true, it doesn’t acknowledge the fact that, yes, I’m a fast writer, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that.
Writing this book has been amazing so far, and my friends have all been great and encouraging. But sometimes, I secretly wonder if they grumble under their breath about my writing speed. Then I feel even guiltier for being so self-centered. Alas, the vicious circle never ends.
People have told me I’m not alone with this, which makes me feel good. Hopefully, over the course of finishing my first novel, I’ll learn to let go of those feelings. In the meantime, I will continue writing on.