On February 25th, I wrote a blog post called My new 40-day commitment. I was 45 chapters into my 60 chapter novel and was reminded of writing advice I had heard once: that when you’re close to the end, you have to race to the finish, letting NOTHING stop you, or you may never get it done. So I decided to say no to a few things (including this blog) to focus on writing the end of the story.
And I made a promise to you that I’d finish the book and have it ready for you to read by day #40.
Keeping promises isn’t easy, not if you care about the people you make your promises to. I started off strong on day #1, thinking that I had plenty of time to finish the novel without having the last 15 chapters outlined or even a book title picked out yet. I wasn’t even sure how the thing would end.
During those 40 days, I think I went through the entire Hero’s Journey story arc that my book’s hero, Blake Jordan, goes through in his adventures. There was the inciting incident that changes everything — my decision to finish the novel in 40 days. There was the the first major plot twist — when I found out that the perfect name that I finally came up with for the book was already taken. There was the false victory at the midpoint — when I finished the first draft at day 20 and thought I was golden! (I wasn’t!) There was the second major plot twist — when my cover design came back looking nothing like I needed it to. Then there was the dark night of the soul — when I had to start waking up an hour earlier every day, at 4AM, to get everything right, knowing that I only had 10 days left and I honestly didn’t see how reaching my goal was even possible anymore.
But believe me when I tell you that something amazing starts to happen when you’re bold enough to put a date on your dream and you decide to tell others about it (and say A LOT of little prayers).
The things that aren’t important, like your favorite TV shows and Facebook, get ignored. What you have to do to keep your commitment becomes perfectly clear. And mighty forces come to your aid.
The edits, the proofreading, the cover, the title, everything came together not before and not after — but ON day #40, capping off the Hero’s Journey with the ending that made perfect sense.
And on Thursday, April 6th, 40 days after putting a date on my dream, my novel In Plain Sight was finished and sent out into the world. Whether or not anyone would ever read it didn’t matter to me. I went to bed that night knowing that I had reached my goal and kept a promise that I had made.
I thought I’d share the process that I went through with you because I think we all have goals, things we want to say that we’ve accomplished, but we don’t make the hard choices to finish them.
But you have to make those hard choices.
And you have to keep the promises that you make, even if they’re only to yourself.
Say a lot of little prayers and be bold.
Then get out your calendar and put a date on your dream.
You’ll experience your own Hero’s Journey, with plot twists, false victories, and even a dark knight of the soul moment where you’ll think there’s no way you will ever be able to reach your goal.
Don’t believe it.
Keep pressing forward and race to the finish toward your goal. Mighty forces will come to your aid.