This past November, I ended National Novel Writing Month with 53,029 words of a novel in front of me. As of today, I have reached a total word count of a little over 59,000 words.
So basically, I’ve hardly written anything. Which is embarrassing. And tragic.
It would be even more embarrassing to admit this, though, if I didn’t have a reasonable excuse for writing an average of 100 or so words per day all winter. It’s not like I’m spending all my other time playing Minecraft (though … there’s some of that, too). This past week, I have averaged about 3,000 to 4,000 words every day, for writing I’m actually getting paid to do.
Which is great. But it’s not my novel. And as grateful as I am to have the opportunity to turn my passion into a little income to help me finish school, I feel increasingly guilty with each week that passes when I realize I’m not spending as much time on the story I committed to in November as I wish I could.
With my freelance work and The Novella Concept and work and school, it’s just hard. Really hard. I make it a point to work on it at least a little every day, but that’s still not enough. I know I should be putting more effort into it, but there are only so many hours in a day. What’s hardest for me is remembering that this thing has no guarantee of ever getting published, meaning all the effort I wish I could dedicate to it may not reap the reward I always secretly hope it will.
As much as that’s no excuse to quit, and it has never stopped me before, it gets harder and harder every day to write for free. I love my story and my characters. I really do. I plan on finishing this novel, editing it and seeing where I can take it from there. I just don’t know how long it’s going to take to get to that point. And that scares me.
I have a goal to finish it by the end of the year. I finish my graduate work in October, which means I could spend the bulk of November and December finishing it up. But I’ll still have two more novellas and 50,000 words of a different novel to write during those months. Just because one commitment ends doesn’t mean it’s going to get any easier to find the time to finish it, and make it good.
I’m sharing these worries and frustrations with you today because I am always telling you the same thing: you have time to write, you need to stop making excuses, just sit down and do it. I want you to know that I’m working on following my own advice here.
I struggle with the exact same things related to writing as you do. I need to change some things in my life (less Minecraft, more sleep) so that I have more energy to get more of my novel written. I really need to sit down and figure out what I need to do to make this happen. And I’m not going to give up. I’m going to finish writing this book. It means that much to me.
Does that mean it’s going to be easy? What do you think? Of COURSE not. I’m exhausted. I am in the middle of writing a 15 page paper about mental health and it is wearing me out. I’m halfway done with March’s novella. I’m trying to hold back another idea for a new project until I can be certain I’m not going to completely lose my mind (or my hands).
This stuff is hard. I don’t complain about it though, because it is very easy to choose to quit. We could all just abandon this whole writing thing right now, get real jobs and wouldn’t have to deal with the unique kind of stress art and creativity puts on us. But we don’t quit. We can’t. We finish what we start. We are strong. We WILL write that thing and FINISH IT and it will be AWESOME.
Right? Right. Now get back to writing.
Image courtesy of pexels.com.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.