Only four more days of NaNoWriMo to go, and I’m noticing that a lot of people are beating up on themselves. They haven’t met their deadlines. They haven’t got enough words. Their words aren’t good enough. The muse is missing! Etc, etc.
Welcome to the wonderful world of being a writer.
At every level, writers beat up on themselves. If they’re not published yet, then that’s their source of grief. If they are published, then they aren’t selling enough, well reviewed enough, or haven’t won enough awards. If they are award-winning bestsellers, their publisher makes them tour all the time. And because they’re touring all the time, they’re too tired and sick to write.
Oh, the woe that it is to be a writer. Even the successful ones are miserable.
So let us do the Pollyanna thing. Here am I, an Australian in the United States of America, enjoying the local official Polyanna day (known as Thanksgiving). Now this is a day with a very troubled history, but one cool aspect of Thanksgiving is that it’s a national day given over to talking about what you’re thankful for.
Those of you doing NaNoWriMo may discover that you’re thankful that you have the time, resources and support to spend the month of November trying to write a novel. There are plenty of people without any of those things.
So you may not have 44,000 words. You may only have 5,000. But that’s still 5,000 more than you had on the first of November. And to quote one of my favorite songs, “From little things, big things grow.”
I did not finish the first novel I attempted to write. Or the second, or the third, or the . . . I’ve lost count how many.
But eventually I finished a novel. It remains unpublished, but I’m thankful that I wrote it, because it’s the foundation that all my later novels are built upon.
So what if you don’t get a novel finished in November? There are plenty more months where this one came from. You’ve proven that you can write, given a little bit of structure and a hundred thousand people writing along with you. Soon you can have a go at writing on your own.
Be thankful for the work you have done this month. Clutch it to your chest.