Write the first chapter of your novel.
Watch an interview with Joseph Campbell. Outline the rest of your novel based on the hero’s journey.
Re-write the first chapter of your novel.
Make a new outline, diverging from the hero’s journey because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Fight writer’s block by working on the dedication and acknowledgments sections you’ll need to send to the publisher eventually.
Delete the first chapter of your novel because you realize it’s basically Harry Potter.
Sit down to write, but check Twitter to see how everyone else in your writing group is doing. Console yourself that they’re hacks even if they are staying on pace.
Proofread Jeremy’s draft because he’s in your writing group and it’s part of the program, even though he’s a hack.
Get out of the house and try to write in a coffee shop for inspiration. Try to figure out who else in the coffee shop is trying to write a novel.
Tell Jeremy that you’ll take him up on his offer to proofread your draft just as soon as you’re done crafting it into art. Then recalculate your word count to include all the emails you sent at work.
Search through your files from college for something from that short story writing workshop to try to work in.
Walk around your neighborhood to get inspired. Sit down and describe the protagonist’s neighbor that never cleans up after his dog like that jackass across the street.
Sit down to write. Anxiously dwell on how far behind you are. Add a chapter about anxiously dwelling.
Score some Adderall to catch up, stay up all night drafting a patent for the device you just invented instead of writing.
Delete the chapter about anxiety because you can’t just add a new character named Hermione and besides, you started writing Harry Potter again.
Politely tell Jeremy to go fuck himself for sending you his next draft before you’ve finished the first one. Add that and your patent to your word count.
Write an investment plan for all the money you’ll have once your invention takes off. Remind yourself that when you’re flush with cash you can do twelve novel writing months a year and it won’t matter if you don’t finish this one.
Get a jump start on the inevitable interview with the New Yorker by browsing some old copies and responding to their questions for other authors. Obviously, add that to the word count.
Reconnect with your friend from college that was in engineering school. See what he thinks about your invention and if he’d like to get in on the ground floor of your empire.
Finish proofreading Jeremy’s first draft. Write the most hurtful editorial notes ever written.
Struggle with the ending. Realize you’ve painted yourself into third-act problems.
Reply to Denise that they can’t kick you out of the writers’ group because they only held you back and so you quit. Add that to your word count.
Admit that your invention is just zip ties, but metal. And they already exist, it’s just not something you typically see.
See if the neighbor kid has any more Adderall. Tell his mom the real crime would be the crime against art she commits if she calls the cops.
Unfollow Denise and Jeremy on Twitter. Add a subplot about hacks to your novel.
Take Thanksgiving day off. Argue with dad about never finishing things. Threaten to finish him if he brings up law school one more time.
During your scheduled writing time, figure out how much you’ll have to write to get to 50,000 words if you add all the short stories, the subplot about how much Jeremy sucks, and the failed invention.
Decide you don’t have third-act problems; you have a purposely ambiguous ending. It’s so ambiguous you shouldn’t even write it.
Block Jeremy on Twitter after he posts about interest from a literary agent (for hacks of course).
Use the printer at work to “publish” your novel(la) and send it to Mom.