It is time to celebrate. I finished the final draft of Vocation. Next week it will be in the hands of my proofreader.
I have learned a lot about writing and myself during this novel. The most valuable lesson I have learned is not to set deadlines. Goals are good. Goals help motive you and keep you on track. Deadlines are bad, even deadly.
I set a deadline for Vocation's publication—August of 2015. It didn’t happen. Then I set another deadline—December of 2015. That didn’t happen. Then another—May of 2016. It still didn’t happen.
There are a few reasons why I never met those deadlines—a new job, the illness and death of my father, and fear. Mostly fear kept me from reaching deadline after deadline.
I began Vocation in August of 2013. I started writing it while A Future Spring was being read by beta readers and critique partners. I continued writing it while AFS was proofread, formatted and published. Vocation took almost three years to write. It is shorter than AFS and took three times as long to write it.
Sure, time restraints, distractions, revisions, plot problems, all these things factored into delay after delay. But mostly, I put pressure on myself, creating unnecessary stress, because I was fearful that AFS was a fluke. I was fearful that I simply could not write a second novel.
But now that all the revisions are done, I have proven to myself that I can write a second novel. And that has given me a sense of freedom.
I think Vocation will always be special to me. Not because it is a great novel. It is a simple story, really, nothing grand. But it represents freedom. In a strange turn of events, the characters in Vocation (my own creations) gave me the courage to push through the fear, to overcome the obstacle, and prove that I can write another novel. Bridget and Philip, in a strange way, helped me overcome my fear by pleading with me to tell their story. And in the end, I couldn’t resist. I had to do it.
Friday, June 17, 2016, was the official day that Vocation was finished. Since then I have written almost 3,000 words on novel three. That is freedom! There is no fear and no pressure now. Book two is behind me. It is finished. There is no fear about book three. There are already characters and the beginnings of a plot. I can relax and let the story take me along for the ride. My new characters are in the driver’s seat, so I am now able to relax and let them drive me wherever they want to go, and there are no deadlines with this one—however long it takes is fine with me.
So when will Vocation be published? My goal is August of 2016—no more deadlines.