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Building a Novel, one Pile at a Time

May Day delivered the most spectacular, back-slapping scene:

Done!

Done!

Of course, it took four looooonnnnngggg weeks to get there. All the task required was sorting, stapling, and filing a countertop of paper and folders amassed in the past seven years. Each piece of paper added that extra measure of factoid, plot point, character backstory, or random snippet that would make my novel an International Bestseller. Of course, having color-coded file folders would surely ensure an extra edge.

I started on the fool’s day, staring at the overwhelming mess and wondering about the synchronicity of the task. Freud would roar at the beauty of both the day and the task, eh?
AGH! 7 Years of Accumulated Story Papers

Measuring these massive stacks, I groaned at what lay ahead: 43 inches of collected papers to sort, staple, and file. How could I ever complete this dreaded, but vital task? I divided 43 inches into 30, arriving at a daily sort/staple/file requirement of 1.6 inches of paper. Yes, it’s an approach that’s anal-to-the-nth-degree. Real progress yells out for such obsessive detail. So, off I went to wrestle with this monster, amid the other everyday chores of my life. I reminded myself daily, “progress, baby, critical progress on your novel!”

Week one yielded slow results:

Progress comes s-l-o-w

Let’s keep going, she said to herself:
2 Piles Left...

Finally, Week 4:

One last pile!

One last pile!

End result?

Done!

Done!

This newly-discovered picture offers historical perspective, showing the piles before they were so neatly stacked for sorting, stapling and, at long last, organized filing:

Aaagghhh!

Aaagghhh!

Sometimes it takes a month, not a village.

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