This huge (bigger than a basketball) hornet's nest was built one tiny mouthful of wood pulp and hornet saliva at a time. growing slowly and perfectly to its final form. Beginning with the New Year -- actually on New Year's Eve -- I have adopted a similar strategy to complete my work in progress -- the Civil War era novel I've mentioned many times before.
There has been so much research to do, so many threads to bring together, and so many different "true" accounts to consider that at times the task has seemed overwhelming. As have the emotional pitch of the events I'm chronicling. So as I near the climax and the end, I'm taking things in very small mouthfuls -- rather than biting off more I can chew -- and I'm finding this approach is working well.
I have set myself the task of a minimum of a page a day -- 250 words, no matter what. Easy -- I can do that in less than an hour. Most days I quadruple that page count. (I could do more but I've taken on an editing project for an ex-student and that too is occupying my time -- hours each day for the next few weeks.)
I'm very happy at how this is working. I'm staying in the story -- which means I go to sleep thinking about what comes next and wake up, ready to tackle the next increment. The characters are telling me what to do and I'm taking time to fully explore each scene, hoping to avoid the rushed feeling of a condensed book that sometimes happens near the end of a novel.
After several years of necessarily dilatory writing, I'm eager to see this book completed. Inch by inch, tiny bite by tiny bite, it will be -- and, I hope, it will be all the better for not being hurried.
I'll let you know when I write THE END.