Do you know what this is?
As you might remember from a few weeks ago, I’ve caught the minimalist bug and have started going through everything I own, trying to get rid of as many things I don’t use as I possibly can. I’ve started with my closet, which you can imagine, is basically where everything I forgot I had lives. That includes very old notebooks (yes, we still used those back in 2009).
What I found on the first page of one of those notebooks was something I never expected to find: the original “plotting” points for a book called Lost and Found, which I would later write, edit and (almost) self-publish.
Sure, I don’t own that stock photo of a Starbucks cup, and it’s not the best book ever written, and I don’t plan on ever actually showing it to the world (this was only the third novel I ever wrote, I was still in high school, I’ve gotten a lot better at writing since then, at least I hope so). But I never expected to find this “outline.” I didn’t even remember I’d written it out.
I’ve been having an extremely productive week, writing-wise. I’m working on two novellas, one for The Novella Concept and one I’m ghostwriting for a client; the novel I started back in November is still making slow but steady progress, and article writing is going full-speed forward as always. I didn’t really need an inspiration boost this week. But maybe you do.
There’s a big difference between wanting to be a writer and being an aspiring writer, at least in my opinion. To me, wanting to be a writer means you someday plan to write for a living. You have a running list of your favorite authors and stories, and you have a few ideas for stories of your own. But beyond that, you don’t have much to show for your want.
Being an aspiring writer, I think, is different, in the sense that aspiring means you’re actually working toward your goal. You’re writing. Maybe you keep trying, and never quite get to the finish line, or you write something but it never gets published. That doesn’t matter. As long as you’re making an effort, as long as you’re saying, “I’m writing this story, it might not be the best but I’m trying,” that’s what sets you apart.
You can get from start to finish. It isn’t impossible. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s the best novel ever written. Worry about whether or not you’re working toward your ambition, and get back to writing.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Meg Dowell.