Cover Photo: This photograph looks down at a pile of clocks. Most of them have old wood around their faces and white faces with roman numerals and fancy hands. The pile feels a little unwieldy and overwhelming.
Photograph by Jon Tyson/Unsplash

The Mathematics of Writing a Novel

Writing a novel is a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. A bucket-list item. And like so many other bucket-list items, you have to find a way to make it happen.



’ve set aside for your writing, or it could be in addition to your writing commitment.

You might find a writing class helpful (Catapult offers many fine options), or a walk outside, or a visit to someplace new, pen and notebook in hand. Now return to the blank page during your chosen time. Allow yourself to write what Anne Lamott calls a “shitty first draft.” Eventually, with time set aside, new ideas in mind and nothing to do but write, your words are bound to emerge.

After 15 years of startups, Jill returned to her first love, writing. She is currently querying a novel and raising three kids from Richmond, Virginia. Her fiction has been published in Atlas & Alice, New Flash Fiction Review, The Normal School, and Twin Pies Literary, among others. Find her at