Posted by: nancyisanders | November 26, 2007

My Magnum Opus

Every writer should have a magnum opus. I do, and it’s changed my entire self-worth as a writer.

About two years ago, I decided to write a huge, huge project that would eventually become the pinnacle of my writing career. It’s way over my head as far as my ability or qualifications to write it. It’s bigger than anything else I ever plan to write. But it’s something I work on, word by word, week by week, and gradually it has become a part of me and is shaping who I am as a writer.

It started out innocently enough…I challenged myself to write an outline about a book that I wished every kid would have. You know—a classic—a book that would pass down from generation to generation of kids and become known as a landmark of books.

That innocent little outline grew and grew and grew until after several months of full time writing on it, it was over 150 pages long. I determined the projected length of my book—over 500 pages—and what I wanted to say in which part of my outline. Oh, I didn’t know the exact words I wanted to write for each section, but I knew most of the topics I wanted to write about.

Since those intense months of writing my outline, I have been working on my magnum opus. Word by word. Paragraph by paragraph. I estimate that it will take me at least ten full years to complete it.

But I’m not in any hurry. As a matter of fact, I keep my goal simple. If I write one hour per week on this manuscript, after an entire year, I’ll have spent at least 52 hours writing and working on it. That’s a bit, actually! And some weeks I spend more time on it than others, so I’m well ahead of my goal. (There were a bunch of weeks when I didn’t write at all on my magnum opus—my mother-in-law fell and fractured her pelvis and we had to drop everything! But then I wrote an extra hour each week when things settled down and quickly got back on schedule.)

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