Monday, May 1, 2017

Keep writing

I have to be honest: this was the most difficult National Novel Writing Month event I've ever taken part in. Camp Nanowrimo of April 2017 almost became the Nanowrimo I didn't complete.

Almost.


Never underestimate a redheaded novelist.

The book itself, the third book in the Ordinary Sam series, isn't quite finished yet. But by the end of the Camp Nanowrimo event yesterday I had crossed the 50,000 word mark, making this the fourteenth time I have managed to do this (three times so far with Camp Nanowrimo, and eleven times writing during the original National Novel Writing Month event in November).

Am I writing this blog post to brag about it all? Not in the least. I'm writing it because every year I encounter people online or in real life who say they want to write a book, or that they wish they could write a book, or that they'd really like to try NaNoWriMo, or some such thing. And some of them do try, but circumstances come up and they have to quit early without making their goals, or they slog through the month and still come up short from a word count perspective--and at that point the temptation is to quit and never try again. Because, some of them are thinking, I already failed, and that proves I'm not really a writer, so why bother trying?

Well, as I said before, on my fourteenth attempt at this I found myself facing the reality that after making a fifty thousand word count goal thirteen times in a row this might finally be the year I didn't make it. But even if something had happened and I had failed to make the word count at the last minute yesterday, I already know I'm a writer. And so, if you're really honest with yourselves, do you--those of you who really do want to write that book, those of you who tried NaNoWriMo already, those of you who are always spending at least part of your time in an imaginary world inside your mind.

Don't sell yourself short. Don't give up. Don't quit trying.

Sure, there are temporary circumstances that might make a really big word goal unreachable right now. But you won't always be tandem nursing two sets of twins or homeschooling a dozen children all day or running three-fourths of the volunteer work at your parish or whatever else you've gotten yourself into these days. In those situations a word goal of "One coherent sentence typed in Times New Roman per day" might be more than enough. But someday when the children are all eating solid food or attending universities, etc., you may find yourself with time to do much more--and it will help immensely if you've already started, how ever small your previous efforts may have been.

The only real setback would be for you to give up writing altogether, because that would be a real tragedy. The world, as the National Novel Writing Month people put it, needs your novel.