Balance: Checkbooks, Unicycles and Novel Drafting


When the checkbook shows $2,000 more than the bank’s number, [I suppose] it’s time to balance it out to find the discrepancies. I was only two months behind when I sat down to match up the deposits and debits yesterday. The main concern was that someone else had been tapping into the funds.

I ordered a new batch of checks three weeks ago. They never arrived in the mail. Last week, I followed up with the bank. They couldn’t track the shipment, but went ahead and issued a stop payment on those check numbers, and then reissued a new batch of checks.

After an hour of highlighting, locating math errors, and adding debits that never made it into the register–I got the account balanced. The finding: no thievery was involved. In the midst of a busy schedule, I had simply forgotten to enter five [rather large] debits. These weren’t like $5.19 for Subway or $20.00 cash back from the grocery store. They were hefty payments for welding work, glass stock, and an online mortgage payment. Oops.

With my novel Freeborn, I have been balancing things as I go. From the outset, I have been ever-conscious of wordcount by chapter, an undulating pace of compressed action offset with more fluid descriptions, and editing each chapter before moving on to the next.

I spent way too much time going back in to edit my first and second novels. It was rather like trying to juggle the checkbook, bank statement, and a highlighter while riding a unicycle. This time around, I set a goal at the beginning of the process to take care of things as I went–to keep it balanced along the way. And this go around is more akin to taking a leisurely ride through the park on a two-wheeler instead.

So, no one stole my money. I received my new checks. Both my bank account and Freeborn are sitting pretty–balanced to the penny.