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Let’s treasure not just victory, but the connections we have made with our fellow writers. This is all too often a solitary calling and we need people who understand what it is to have a storyline fall apart or the moment when you are absolutely convinced that every word you are writing is certified, 100% crap. To be a part of this community, even for a little while, is to have the joy of knowing we are not alone.
Tomorrow is not the end, but the beginning of the next phase, and no matter where we are with our stories, there is always a new dawn waiting for us if we have faith in ourselves.
We are writers. We write. We write through good times and we try to write through bad times, though there are moments when we have to say, “No, not today.” I saw that from a number of people earlier this month. They stepped away from the keyboard for a day or even a week, but they came back because writing is what they do. I would say bad times call for writing even more desperately than good times because readers need the comfort and inspiration fiction can bring.
We make choices within our writing as well, much of which involve how miserable we’re going to make our characters or how hard they’re going to have to work before they get to the ending we’ve planned. We choose which words we use, which words we don’t — and sometimes we choose to let our characters wander off in a direction we know they shouldn’t go because we made a choice to explore those possibilities.
If you’re not used to sitting down and writing something every single day, you might be feeling a certain weariness. Writing can be exhilarating, but it can also be tiring, both physically and mentally. Sadly, it does not burn sufficient calories to count as exercise, but it is still work.
We are our own worst enemies, beset by doubts and the inner demons that nag at us. But each day we overcome those voices and sit down to do the impossible thing is a victory. Writing is hard; it demands we open up some darker recesses of our imaginations and spill them out of the page, to have characters do things that we would normally shy away from. Writing is very often painful, but having written can be a joy because we know we have striven for something and won.
As writers, what we capture on the page are moments, both good and bad. Our stories are scenes designed to provoke emotion in our readers. You can tell when you’ve connected because a reader will tell you what moments stood out for them.
A lot of us need that victory at this point, but we also have to look beyond a winner’s certificate and a video cheering our accomplishment. Once December is done, what do you plan to do with your project? Is it going in the drawer as you return to a life that’s becoming increasingly packed with year-end obligations? Do you hope to get back to it at “some point” — or are you going to keep adding to it, drop by drop, until you can call it done?
That's because the characters have now gone from being the set of characteristics I've thrown together and have developed something of a personality – and they push back in unexpected ways. They do things that provide shadings I hadn't expected, or answer to plot problems that maybe weren't quite fleshed out completely when I started.