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“If you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”— William Arthur Ward
We’re writers. We deal in imagination and we create worlds and lives in the pages we write. Yet, so often, for all our dreaming of finishing a book or getting one (or more) published, we some how can’t manage to cross that invisible barrier from wanting to becoming.
Our fault, dear WriMos, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.
Shameless stealing from Shakespeare and not the most encouraging words to read first thing in the morning, but it is all too often true. This is my fifteenth time around the November Nano track, and I’d been writing for quite some time before I first heard of this exercise. I finally published a book this year. :: throws confetti, points to discreet ad at the bottom of the post ::
Yes, it is a cause for celebration, but it’s also caused me to think, “What the hell took me so long?”
Part of it was the market; I had a number of instances where agents and editors liked what I was writing — but it wasn’t they were buying at that time. Part of it was that I wasn’t writing or revising particularly fast, sometimes taking up to two years to finish a project. The first issue has been changed by the advent of indie publishing, which allows me to write the books I want to write without worrying if a house is buying that time period or has just cancelled the line I was target. NaNoWriMo has been a big help in the second. I draft much faster than I used to and last year managed to complete a full first draft in 30 days. I’m not counting on that this year because I’m actually finishing a project due to publish in February before I start this year’s NaNo novel.
But the biggest factor in why it took me so long to actually have the pleasure of seeing a book I’d written for sale was me. There’s been a lot of ups and downs and times when I’ve let other things get in the way of my writing. There are always going to be days when things are going to take precedence over your writing because they need to at that moment. The issue isn’t that; it’s getting back to your writing after the moment of crisis is done. If you’re not careful, days can stretch into weeks, then months, then…well, you get the picture.
I let that happen. There have been some years where NaNoWriMo was the only serious writing I did in a twelve-month stretch. Here’s the funny thing; those 30 days, being a part of this, helped keep that dream alive. This year, I finally got my act together and got something out. It wasn’t what I planned and, boy, there are few lessons I’ve learned. But I made it — and most of the material was written during NaNoWriMo last year. This was the proof I needed, the thing that made the dream real.
We create worlds. We can make our dreams come true. That’s why we keep writing.
Word count goal: 10,002
*Discreet ad: My book is entitled Surviving 30 Days of Literary Madness: How to Get Through NaNoWriMo With Your Sanity and Sense of Humor (Hopefully) Intact. Available now at Amazon and other fine on-line retailers.