Sunday, November 29, 2009


It is the end of National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo). Stop a moment this week and pat yourself on the back. Celebrate with a nice walk, a phone call to a friend, or a movie. It doesn't matter if you hit 50,000 words or only 500. What matters is that you set a goal and you worked to achieve it.
As writers we tend to look only at the negative. I didn't make my goal. I made my goal but the work is a hot mess, too terrible to edit. The story stinks. The motivations aren't good enough. My characters are too stupid to live. Or worse, I sent it out and am embarrassed/ humiliated/hurt by the rejection. (Even after over 600 rejects I feel this way every time.)
We fling ourselves in despair on the fainting couches in our offices--yeah, right-- and cry out at our lack of success. All that work, all that time, all that effort and people toss it aside like a used tissue. Why or why do I keep doing this to myself? (Okay, so I'm a huge drama queen. You get the picture.)
Let's take a deep breath for a moment--in and out. Sit up and think about it. Something like 90 percent of the population say they want to write a book. That it is their dream to write a book. Only about 20 percent attempt this dream--congratulations that's you! Only 10 percent finish a first draft--again congratulations that is you! Of those with a finished draft only half will revise it and actually send it out to editors and agents. Even fewer will start a second book. Do you see where I'm going here?
So what if you're not James Patterson or Stephen King. You are living your dream.
Celebrate your efforts. Celebrate yourself. You deserve a pat on the back and I'm here to give it to you. So yay!! Congrats on your Nano efforts be they write or revise or query. You go!
Now, get back to work. Cheers!


Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I didn’t do the Nano thing but I should have because I’ve written fewer words this month than I care to think about. Maybe a little added pressure would have helped out. But, you made a very good point in your post. I’m not going to beat myself up over what I didn’t do. Now I’m telling myself that I at least wrote something and I’ll try to do better next month.

Pamala Knight said...

Thank you Nancy! What an excellent cheerleader and motivator you are. I edited and revised close to about 50K words and had hoped to do more, but I'm going to take your advice and celebrate what I did, instead of lamenting what I didn't.


Ann Victor said...

LOL! My favourite phrase of writing woe is also "Why oh why do I keep on doing this to myself?"

But, yes, you're correct! Just finishing our stories is far more than many people manage to do. At least we *are* living our dream! :)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jane, yes, it's not what you didn't do, but what you did do that counts! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Pamala, yay! for you doing 50k words. That is a lot and you are so much closer to your goal now.

Hi Ann, lol- I ask myself this question every time I get a rejection and, since I've got six books out on submission, I'm getting a lot of rejections. Thus the fainting couch in the office. ;)

Linda Kage said...

Wow, I never thought of it that way... I'm in the top 10% for just finishing a story. That's amazing, plus I've finished more than one manuscript and even sent off submissions. Now I feel important. Thank you so much for giving those stats. It really is awe-inspiring how much we've already accomplished. Whew!

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Linda, congrats on the sale of your second book! Can't wait for the deets!

Jessica said...

Sweet post! You're right, I need to celebrate my fourth story, and not bemoan the fact that I'm STUCK right now. LOL

Congrats on Nano!!