I have a goal to write at least 200 words of my book every day. Last night, it was ten o’clock, and I still hadn’t written anything.
I didn’t want to. At all.
I ached to get under my blanket and finish the last fifteen pages of my book. I was tempted. I thought, “Who cares? It’s just one day.”
Then, I thought about the calendar I use to track my writing habit. Was I going to miss a day simply because I was too lazy?
I wouldn’t be that person. If I skipped one day, it would make it easier to skip a second day.
I won’t be the kind of person who proclaims they’ll take action only to submit to laziness because “they don’t feel like working.”
Tired, I grabbed my Freewrite and wrote 200 words. (No more, no less.)
I’m glad I did so for three reasons:
- I proved to myself I could stick to my goal.
- I had an idea I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t written.
- It reminds me of my mantra throughout this writing journey: “If you want to write a book, you must want the entire process.”
Anticipate ups and downs
I went into this novel-writing process expecting the best and the worst. I knew I had to be prepared not only to spend hours writing when I was in the zone but for the days I wouldn’t want to write at all.
I was talking to Samantha Lazar a couple of days ago since she too is writing a novel, and we both agreed that writing a book is intimidating.
This process can be overwhelming. There’s a lot to figure out. Some days, you write with certainty in your mind. Other days, you doubt the words you type and wonder if they mean anything at all.
You don’t know how many plot holes your idea will have. As you write, you’ll discover flaw after flaw, and realize you’ll need to go back and fix them.
For every struggle, there is an inner demon trying to convince you to quit. “You can’t do this,” it whispers. “You’re not ready. It’s too hard.”
Your job is to say back, “I know it’s too hard. That’s why I’m doing it.”
Show up for all of it
Accepting that there will be easy and challenging moments is not all it takes to write a book. Talking is easy.
Taking action is a whole other game.
You can be two types of people in this book bound journey.
You can be person A, who promised themselves they would write despite obstacles, but rarely do. Person A only writes when they feel inspired and wake up in the mood to create.
They let their emotions dictate their actions. When a particularly hard day comes around — say they can’t figure out how to make the protagonist escape their capture — they put it aside to work on it later. (Needless to say, later never comes.)
Or you can be person B.
Person B also swore to themselves they would stick along for the ride, no matter how bumpy. They write every day, even when they don’t feel like it.
They put their feelings aside and take action because they said they would. When they encounter a rough day — say they can’t find a solution to the protagonist’s problem — they write anyway. Three days later, after trying and trying, they find the answer to their problem.
Stick around for the crappy moments. Don’t run and hide from the monster, but stand up to it. If there’s a problem, you have to figure it out and just keep writing.
This is the only way you’ll finish your book. And isn’t that the goal you want to reach most in the world?