Every time I sit down to write a novel, I get next to nothing done. Worse—I probably lose some critical ground. If you try to control the outcome of your work too rigidly, it will become brittle and fall to pieces in your hands. This is really, really hard to accept, but if you can approach each day’s work with the simple goal in mind of growing your work—and by work, I don’t mean product, I mean practice—you will get further than you ever imagined. You may write 79,000 words and realize in the last 1,000 that the novel is not what you want to put out there, but those 80,000 words will inform your next work immeasurably.