I’m back from the padded room of novel-writing. And guess what? I did it! I wrote a novel.
The harsh reality is that it isn’t what I would call “good.” Well, some parts of it are great. Others stink. It’s possible that with some (all right, a lot) of editing, it might be worth publishing. But at the moment, all of that is irrelevant.
The point, for me, was not just to prove that I could do it. I began not with a goal of reaching the magical 50,000 words, but with the intent to finish the novel. I managed to do both, but I would have been content to have the plot wrapped up. I needed to develop the self-control to finish what I started.
I have this terrible habit of self-editing. I write stuff, then I go back and think, “That sucked. Gotta revise.” I can’t get past the mistakes I’ve made. I’m so busy living in my writing’s past that I can’t create its future. I also tend to get hung up on the middle of the plot. I start strong, I know where it’s all going to end up, but I can’t decide which path to take to work my way there.
Is that anything like real life? How often do we get sucked into the whirling vortex of second guessing ourselves? Do we have an end point in mind, a goal, and wish we were there—forgetting about the present? Taking the time to move forward, to know where we’re headed, but to stay in the moment—that’s the challenge.
I’m going to take the skills I learned out into the world. I want my life, as well as my writing, to have flow, direction, and purpose.
Here’s to finishing what we start!