I wanted to share one important lesson I’ve learned in both writing and in life, today on this most important of days…
(Today is not important because it’s Halloween. It’s important because it’s NaNoWriMo Eve.)
I’ve officially decided to do NaNoWriMo. More than once, since making the decision, I’ve wondered whether or not I’m crazy.
I am a busy little bee. I work a full-time job that keeps me occupied from 9 AM to 7 PM, with the potential for some freelance stuff on the side. I write this blog. I’m woefully behind on my reading for the year. I have a good amount of social commitments coming up. I’m also committed to my health, and spend a good amount of time cooking healthy food and exercising. (I don’t understand how people fit children into their lives. I truly don’t. Which is one of the reasons I haven’t had any yet.)
And yes, I always write. But I have yet to write 50K words in three month’s time, much less one.
When am I going to find the time to do this?
I’m an unrealistically optimistic person (which is apparently one of the reasons I’m always late–I believe I can fit in more than I actually can.) I’m planning on banging out these words on lunch breaks and evenings during the week, and when I have plans on those evenings, doing marathon catch-up sessions on the weekends, and when those weekends get busy … attempt to find a Time-Turner.
Whether or not I succeed will also depend on whether or not I can silence my inner editor and just keep writing without revising, not even a little bit. I’ve never been able to work that way. But the other part of it will just be finding the time. I don’t know if I can do it. So why am I trying?
It has a lot to do with why I’m still trying to become an author.
I announced (more like, reluctantly admitted) my desire to become a published writer to my family and friends around seven years ago. A lot of them are confused about why that hasn’t happened yet. More than one has asked if I’ve given up. Why work on something that’s come to no fruition? Why spend so much time trying?
It’s something I ask myself in my darkest hours. What if I never get published? What if I do, and no one buys my book? What if I’m a complete and total failure? What if this is all a tremendous amount of wasted time?
So it’s good to occasionally remind myself that this is why I continue to try:
Because I love it. You know that quote “I hate writing; I love having written”? Yeah, that’s not me. (“I hate exercising; I love having exercised”; that is me.) I love the process of writing. Yes there are good days and bad days but most of the time sitting at a computer with my ideas and a blank page is my idea of heaven.
Because I learn. Even though sometimes it feels like “shoveling shit from a sitting position” (the inimitable Stephen King), I learn more with every chapter, every manuscript, every passing year that I continue to do this. I learn through doing. There is no other way.
Because it’s better than the alternative. You can try and possibly you will not succeed. But if you don’t even try, you will definitely not succeed. It’s as simple as that.
This may seem obvious to you–nothing ventured, nothing gained, and all of that–but writing isn’t like other careers. There’s no set path that leads to success; there are no guarantees. A lot of us do it for the love of the game. For writers in the trenches, it’s something I think we need to remind ourselves of often:
That it’s not just about the finished product. There’s beauty in the attempt, and we need to recognize and celebrate that.
P.S. I hope to keep you all updated on my NaNo activities but again, we’ll see how it goes. For now I’ve signed up at this site, and have only two friends, so if you’re NaNo-ing, let me know and let’s be friends 😀
Image found here