Anita Mechler: 10 top thoughts I had while trying to write my first novel chapter

At the advent of my 35th year on the planet, I decided that I was going to attempt to write a first draft of a novel that I’ve been kicking around my head for about five months. To aid in the process, I enrolled in a novel writing class as a birthday present. My first chapter is due in a few days and I sequestered myself for the weekend in my apartment with my cat to get it done. Here are some of the thoughts I’ve had during this process (all times are approximate):

  • Friday night, 7:13p.m.: “I’m so excited to get started and read some research and make notes and write a really great first chapter.”
  • 8:15p.m.: “I’m getting hungry and trying to save money, so I’ll eat this year-old can of chili that’s in the back of my cabinet.”
  • 8:32p.m.: “Maybe I’ll play some computer games for a little bit to stimulate my mind.”
  • 10:12p.m.: “This has been a long week, maybe I should go to bed early and get a fresh start tomorrow.”
  • Saturday morning, 10:01a.m.: “Oh man. My apartment hasn’t been cleaned in weeks, there’s laundry everywhere and dirty dishes in the sink. I’ll clean up everything so that I have no excuses not to write.”
  • 1:13p.m.: “I’m really tired now, so I think that I’ll take a nap with my cat.”
  • 3:33p.m.: “I’ll do some more research to try to answer some of the the questions my classmates gave me on feedback from last week’s assignment.”
  • 9:14p.m.: “I’ll work on the writing tomorrow now that all of my chores and most of my research is done.”
  • Sunday morning, 11:12a.m.: “What have I done? Why did I think that I could write a novel? I’m not a writer, I’m a reader and researcher and barely even at that. Now, I’m hungry and I’m running low on food and it looks gross outside.”
  • 1:01p.m.: “I’ll walk to a restaurant to take a break from my apartment and read a little bit.”

Now that I’ve shared this with you, I really will start on that chapter. Maybe. After this nap*.

[*I didn’t take that nap and instead started on that chapter for the next 4 hours, and completed about 7 pages of it. Writing this list and everything that I do leading up to it helped, I think. So, thanks for reading!]

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  1. Love this – it’s exactly how its been for me recently. It’s amazing how my mind can justify allowing me to sit on my date and waste time in the name of literature.

  2. This story sounds like the epitome of procrastination, sounds like your cat had fun. Btw what’s your novel about?

  3. I’m writing a novel too and y first hours were terrible. I didn’t even plan. But it’s better now

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