You might think that the infrequency of late in my blogging is a result of my intense novel writing. Unfortunately you’d be wrong.
As of this writing, I have achieved half of the NaNoWriMo goal, that is, a 50,000-word novel written solely during the month of November. You’ll note that today is November 30, the last day of the month. Boo, me.
Although it was certainly possible, deep down I knew it was unlikely that I would accomplish my NaNoWriMo goal. Day one was great, but I fell behind at day two, and never recovered. I’ve tried to justify this for myself the past few days: I have a baby at home; my schedule is so different every day. Maybe this wasn’t really the project for me. Thirty thousand words is good, too, right? (No, I’m not even at 30,000 yet.) While these things are all true, they are simply excuses for not achieving a goal I set for myself, in a word, for failing.
The truth is, once I sit down and get writing, I am enjoying this project. I like that it’s going places I didn’t expect. I like that I’m getting to know my characters more and more with each page. I like that there’s so much I could work with in a rewrite. What I don’t like is that I didn’t finish.
However, whenever we try new things, sometimes we’ll succeed and sometimes we’ll fail. I’ve failed the major goal, but achieved some other things besides.
I have learned a good deal about writing, simply by doing it. I’ve learned to let go and just write, and I’m getting more confident that with something down on paper, a good edit could lead to something worthwhile. The party’s not over yet; I still think I may have something valuable to share.
I’ve also learned (yet again) that I severely lack discipline, especially in those things that mean the most to me. Why is it that the things I want to do the most—read, write, pray—are so often put on the back burner?
Since leaving my job and deciding to stay at home with the little man, I have been trying to make an effort to simplify my life. There are so many little distractions I create for myself every day. The past few days, the biggest distraction and the greatest hindrance from moving forward has been the impending sense of failure—something I might have avoided if I just sat down and started typing.
Oh, me of little faith.
In a section aptly subtitled “The Cure for Anxiety” in the New American Standard Bible, Matthew writes, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt 6:27). By worrying, I certainly didn’t add anything to my word count!
There still is hope for this novel, and there still is hope for me as a writer. The best thing I can do now is get up and try again. And again and again, with God’s grace, I will.