“In striving for perfection, we achieve excellence.” –Vince Lombardi
Goals are set for a reason. They are something to strive for, but sometimes life just gets in the way, and you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes it pays to back off, recognize the “why” behind what you are doing, and hit the reset button.
At a little over 40,000 words for the National Novel Writing Month challenge toward the goal of 50,000 I could finish. I could dedicate today to only writing, write a ton just to reach the elusive goal, display a badge on my Facebook wall, and a celebratory blog post proclaiming my victory. But what would I really win? It helps to look at my original goal.
Kick start the finish of a series. I have an ongoing series, and I want to put it to bed, so to speak. There are some reasons, many of them personal. This is my first commercial “success” novels, more specifically the first in the Samuel Elijah Johnson Series, titled Redemption. The story is rather personal, and the series a bit autobiographical from time to time. That chapter in my life is over, and since I finished Temptation (the second in the series) I’ve written two other novels not related to this one. The time has come for it to be over. I needed an incentive to get it done, and NaNo has accomplished that: I am nearly there, and happy to be as close as I am.
Solidify good writing habits. As far as word count and finished work goes, this has been my best year so far. The first NaNo I did was to help develop good writing habits. This one I used to solidify those habits, evaluate my time management strategy, and keep the work going in spite of distraction. I did that this month. The result is a revamping of my strategy and a reset of how I do things, based on when my writing is most productive.
Focus on the finish, not the editing. Surprised? Yes, I am the guy who preaches over and over to just write the story, get the first draft down, and edit later, but I do the same things you do. I fail in the same ways, wanting to rework that paragraph or sentence to death. My best writing has come when I write fast, and don’t look back. The story flows, the prose is true, the dialogue real. Not to say you do not need editing: hell, everyone does. Mostly you need to write.
So even though I did not finish NaNo this year with a badge or a sign, I win. I shot for the moon, and still landed among the stars. Early next week, Confession will be done (the first draft at least). And for me, that is enough.
And I may start a new trend after Christmas. Who’s up for Janowrimo?
Troy is a freelance writer, author, and blogger who lives, works, and plays in Boise, Idaho with the love of his life and three very talented dogs.
Passionate about writing dark psychological thrillers, he is an avid cyclist, skier, hiker, all-around outdoorsman, and a terrible beginning golfer.