It's been almost two years since I began writing a novel, and coming up on five years since I decided I wanted to write about my grandfather. I had really wanted to finish the novel in two years. It's not going to happen. I'm maybe 65 percent there. I need time, though. Why can't there be more hours in a day?

Sure, the novel will get finished. I just really, really wanted to finish it in two years, then take six months to a year to polish it up, then a year to find a publisher, then a year for it to come out so that it would coincide with my 40th year of existence. ("Happy 40th birthday! Here's your shiny new novel!") Which is kind of a silly way to unravel a first novel, yet that was my thinking.

The problem is only a little bit writing, and a lot of bit the rest of the things happening in recent times. Some emotionally draining things were taking place. Then I lost my job, which was one of the big emotionally draining things. This was good at first, as I wrote a lot and finished the first part of the novel. But then I began freaking out about not having a new job. And then I didn't really know how to start the second part of the novel. Deadly combination.

The good news was that I got a new job. It turned out to be a job I really loved. I wrote a lot. But then the job became incredibly busy and made me super tired and not inclined to write at night. And then all sorts of other emotionally draining things that had been percolating exploded, and my time really grew tight. If I thought I was too tired to write before, I had a new understanding of what being tired was. Suddenly, going to the gym and watching hideous reality shows ("Property Wars," anyone?) became a major achievement.

Still, I jotted down a sentence here or a paragraph there. It all adds up in the end. I don't need to write 15 pages in one sitting. Sometimes 15 words is an achievement. Especially if the 15 words make up a full sentence or two.

My new hope is to finish the first draft of part two this summer. I have the ideas (mostly). If only I had the time. Certainly a common refrain, not only for writers.