In 2010, I had my first real mid-life crisis. My husband had volunteered for a tour in Iraq. I was in a losing battle at work where my boss was making decisions that were taking the company into financial ruin. And I had my 30th birthday. I threw myself a party. Lots of people came, I wasn’t lacking in friends…it was a chocolate themed murder mystery party where they had to actually learn their roles and follow a script…I had dedicated friends.
But still, it was the tipping point to my mid-life crisis. I decided to leave my job and go live in Bahrain to be near my husband for the last part of his overseas tour. I had always wanted to see if I could write a book and I thought this is the perfect opportunity to try my hand at that. I was going to be in Bahrain for 28 days…assuming my visa was extended after I arrived…and I had nothing really to do but write and do some tourist things.
Bahrain is tiny, there aren’t many tourist things to do.
In the 32 hours it took to fly from San Diego to my new apartment in the desert in the hottest month of July, I read books about writing books. I learned I had to write over 70,000 words for my first novel to be considered “adequate” and I devised a plan that if I worked 5 days a week at writing, for 8 hours a day, I had to produce 437 words per hour.
And that is exactly what I did. I took the weekends off to do things around the country. But on the weekdays, I worked out in the gym on the 2nd floor, then after a shower would go to the business center on the top floor and turn on VH1 for background news. In the four weeks I did this, no one else ever used the business center so I could put on whatever I wanted on the TV or radio. I would spend the first hour or so drinking coffee and rereading whatever I had written the day before…thus meaning I had to actually produce an even 500 words per hour for the rest of the day. I’d write non-stop for the next 3 hours and then retreat to my apartment for lunch. After lunch, it was writing again for a solid 4 hours.
There was a roof-top pool and it was much too hot in the middle of the day to use it, but perfect at 5pm and that is how I wrapped up most of my days, unwinding my tight muscles from sitting at the keyboard all day by doing a few laps in the warm pool water and watching the sunset.
I did this for the dedicated 20 days I had in Bahrain and by the time I left I had exceeded my goal. I had written my first draft of a full length novel and came in at 71,000 words. My best friend had been receiving emails every day with that day’s production and sending me her comments and feedback as I went. Three others were sent the draft to edit while I went off grid and disappeared to South Africa for a few weeks of volunteering with rhinos. Mid-life crisis, remember?
And then I got back to the USA. And I was offered a new job. And I started this new job. And the book…well, it got dusty.
Life happened and now it’s 2017 and I finally dedicated time to reviewing and editing the novel. The new draft comes is over 77,000 words and is sitting with a new friend to edit while I start to research the right agents to submit to and see if I can get their interest.
My original goal was to see if I could write a novel. Check. I did that.
Now my goal is to see if I can produce this novel. TBD.