There's a good chance that by the time this post goes live, the first draft of Welcome to the Fold will be complete — about six months behind schedule. But then again my self-imposed schedules have always been somewhat unrealistic.
In retrospect, I'm amazed I got anything done at all in the past year. Between changing to a new full-time job, fixing up the house, getting it sold, moving (those last two in the middle of one of the worst snowstorms the Northeast had seen in years), settling in with my in-laws, finding a new house, buying that, moving into that, furnishing that — and all the while trying to hold down the job I'd just landed, start other new projects, and conclude old ones — the fact that I'm on the verge of typing THE END for anything at all is a gobsmacker.
When I started working on the book, nowhere did I have a calendar tacked up on a wall with red circles on it: Sell House, Move, Finish Book. The book was on its own private schedule where it would get done sooner rather than later as long as I kept up a schedule of a thousand or so words a day — something I can pull off in my sleep. Or so I told myself.
My book-a-year schedule was never really something I was married to. It was an idea, something I would adhere to as best I could, and would bend if necessary. My tentative plan now is to offer Welcome to the Fold sometime in the spring of 2015, although I wouldn't put it past having it out in time for Christmas if the stars remain in alignment and no (further) meteors land on my head.
Besides, in the end I know no one except me is holding my feet to any fire. But having a fire, and having feet held to it, are more important than they seem. If I don't give myself some incentive to finish — and to move on from what I've finished — no one else will, and I will be stuck in the same ranks as the rest of the perpetual amateurs who punish us with all their talk about the novel they're always working on and never finishing.
I know, I know: I'm four or five books too late to be in that category. But it never hurts to keep my distance from it as best I can.