Finish that Novel (or Novella, or Short)…
So the unofficial theme this week seems to be along the lines of getting that first draft done quickly and efficiently. We talked about writing sprints. We talked about the old practice makes perfect adage. It all adds up to one thing: Butt in chair, and get writing.
I’ve had many people this week tell me, “Oh I would love to be published, but….” Ten guesses what that last bit is (and the first 9 don’t count.). Right… They haven’t found the time to finish a story.
That’s what holds back the many many dreamers. The idea of writing is a fantasy. They envision themselves almost romantically scrawling away with pen in hand under the light of a flickering candle. Writing the next great American novel and instantly finding publishing success. The truth just throws a cold bucket of water on those ideas.
The truth of the matter is this… Writing is a grind. A daily bleed of words on the page. To do it well takes time, dedication, and love. The romantic notions are far from the actual truth. Writers are often alone, staring into the blank abyss of an empty page, struggling to make it into something worth reading. And not everything written is worth reading. But we go on. We write more. We perfect what can be perfected. We delete thousands of beloved words that just don’t work. We push ourselves through sleeplessness, backaches from hunching over a keyboard or pad of paper, migraines from the computer screen, and the constant fear of being ridiculed for not being good enough when a reviewer finally does read our work.
That’s the real life of a writer. But, though it sounds terrible in that light. It is all worth it when you see the fruits of your labor come to light. Holding that printed and bound book in your hand for the first time… priceless. When a reviewer gushes over your characters and begs you for the next book. When an agent offers representation for your book. When you see that royalty check come in (even if it will only buy you a pack of gum.) Those are the moments that make it all worthwhile.
So, for those of you who haven’t run screaming in fear, and for my author friends silently nodding their head in agreement, I pose this challenge. Let’s stop talking and start writing. Finish whatever project you are on… as quickly as possible.
For the new writers: Make a goal. A daily word count goal. And achieve it.
For the old pros: Word sprints! How fast can you get 1k words.
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