Your Mission, If You Choose to Accept It…

I started writing my current novel in April and arbitrarily decided that I’d like to finish it by the time our family arrived at the beginning of August. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen, but I still wanted to finish it SOON, so I set a new deadline of our NEXT houseguests. Who are coming at the end of August.

In less than two weeks.

It’s always tough for me to start a new book, especially if I haven’t written for a couple months while publishing a novel (like I did this past winter with The Slope Rules). My daily word count goal is 1000 words and it usually takes me about a month to get to that point. I can’t say I’ve ever truly reached that consistently with this novel, but I’ve written more often than with past drafts, so I’m still adding words.

Then I hit the middle.

If you’re a writer, you know the middle of a novel is when you come to the realization that no one will ever want to read this, the story is a complete joke, and it’s a wonder anyone’s ever bothered with your other stories because clearly you’re a hack. Because I’m writing my seventh novel, I recognize the signs of “writing the middle” and this time around, I was able to talk myself (well, write myself) through it rather quickly.

And then my character decided to change the entire second half of the novel.

Normally that would send me into a panic, but I fell in love with this new direction and I’m much happier with the new second half. (At least what I have plotted. I’m still writing.) That renewed energy fired up my inner editor who decided, “hey, maybe you’re not so bad—let’s finish this bad boy!”

By the end of August.

This first draft isn’t going to be as long as my other novels—it’ll probably be 20K words fewer—but there’s a lot I need to expand in the first half so the two halves match up, and I know the word count will get there. I KNOW. Because I’m determined.

And when I challenge myself to meet a goal, more times than not, I meet it.

Now, dear reader, do you promise to help hold me accountable?



About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. Marian Walker

    You can do this, I know. I’m anxiously awaiting this novel and I’m sure I’m not the only one (fan) so you do need to finish this

    “So get crackin”!

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