The Never-ending Project

posted in: Writing | 0

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a never-ending project? I mean, you know there has to be an end at some point, but at the moment, it feels like that point is in the very far, distant future?

Well, that’s the perfect way to describe the flooring project going on in my house right now. I honestly don’t remember when it started (fall, maybe?), but here we are in the latter half of February, and it’s still going . . . with no clear end in sight. You see, we’re replacing the upstairs carpet with hard woods, and my husband is doing all of the work himself (because that’s how we do things around here). Sure, the kids and I are helping when we can (today, I applied floor putty in my office–see below), but my husband’s the one with the mad skills, so most of the project is riding on him.



He’ll be the first to admit he’s been dragging his feet some, but in his defense, he’s a very busy man–a firefighter who works construction on his days off. He also plays hockey. Do I wish he’d devote a little more time to finishing this project? Um, yes. I do. But I also get it. Redoing floor is a huge pain in the you-know-what. It’s hard to stay motivated when you have so little down time as it is.

The good news is that the game room is completely finished and most of the flooring has been installed (just our closet and the stairs are left). But then there’ll be more putty to put down, sanding, trim, and of course, clean-up (which is no small task either). So it’s not close to being finished yet by any means.

As one might assume, we’ve been living in a constant state of chaos these last few months. My husband and I have been sleeping in the game room for what feels like forever, but is probably closer to three weeks. Sure, things could be worse, but for a Type A-ish person like me, the mess and clutter has been a constant source of stress.


Our bedroom/game room


And the contents of our closet . . .


I know, I know. It’s going to be great when it’s all said and done. I cannot wait for that day to come.

The parallel between this flooring project and writing a book hasn’t escaped me, however. Just like re-flooring a large area, writing a book is a huge task. Monumental. When you start, it seems you’ll never make your way to the end. In fact, it’s easy to get lost inside that gigantic corn maze of words and plot and characters. Many people give up, unfortunately.

But there is one surefire way to get out of that maze–and it’s simply to keep going. Even if you can only devote twenty minutes a day, it’s still progress.

It took me three years to finish my first book. At the time, I thought I would never make it. But I’ve since learned this isn’t unusual in the least. It took J.K. Rowling 6 years to finish her first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It took Tolkien 16 years to finish The Lord of the Rings (which wasn’t his first book).

Here are a few other famous books that took some sweet time to write:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: 3 years

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin: 5 years

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: 10 years

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: 12 years


What’s obviously important here is that these writers kept going. And just think what the world would be missing out on if they hadn’t.


So from here on out, I guess I should view the flooring project as a novel-in-progress. One that WILL eventually get finished and be a glory to behold.