This month while I’m doing NaNoWriMo, I find there are some great lessons to be learned and to take away from the whole experience. It’s my first attempt at something like this, and it’s not easy. I’d like to say it was, but I’d just be bull shitting everyone. It takes commitment, stamina, endurance, perseverance, desire, and ideas. And, that’s just touching on the basics. I’m not even going to attempt to talk about the difficulties, the frustration, the time involved, the self-doubt, and the desire to give up. But, I can’t give up. I’m too determined to fail at something I set my mind and heart to doing.
Why is it easier to write short stories than a whole novel? Well for one thing, they don’t require the stamina and time commitment that a novel does. Recently I read some comments about NaNo and the “I’ve been Week Two’d” comment by someone, which basically says, I got to week two and ran out of steam or ideas with my novel, or realized that I had a great idea to start with, but just didn’t have what it takes to make a whole novel out of it. There are many reasons novels don’t get finished, but if you don’t see your project through to the end, you’ve lost something greater than a good idea.
Why do some people quit halfway through? The story has lost it’s charm, it’s fun, and you’ve lost the desire to write it. You’ve lost your momentum, your desire to see your project finished, or you’re afraid to finish it. Why, you ask? Because, it started out as something fun and then you realized that it’s not going as you planned, the ideas are not flowing freely like they did when you got ‘that big idea’ for this story, or you think the whole story just sucks.
So, the big question is… do you keep writing it, knowing it sucks and try to salvage some good out of it, or quit and start something new? I don’t know the answer to that, but deep down every writer has probably faced that dilemma. So what happens next is entirely up to you. Do you quit? Yes, quit!
Or keep writing. Why, you ask? What you’ll gain from writing that whole novel is the fortitude that you can do it. The will, determination and pride that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. And, even if it sucks in the end and it stays locked up in the bowels of your hard drive, you’ll know you finished what you started. But, at least you’ll know that you succeeded in writing that first draft of your novel and it was an endeavour worth doing.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and write the next bestseller, but unless you finish that novel, you’ll never find out. So go on…finish that novel. And whether it’s good or bad, you’ll feel better that you’ve made a huge accomplishment by doing so.
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