nanowrimo celebration

We’ve made it the end of the first week of NaNoWriMo!

Good job! Give yourself a pat on the back! The hardest part is over (seriously)!

It might not feel like the hardest part is done, after all there’s still another three weeks to go, but I’m here to tell you that you should be feeling incredibly proud of yourself for what you’ve achieved so far. After a week of writing everyday, it’s too easy to let in doubts and negative thoughts. Maybe your word count isn’t as high as you’d like it to be. Maybe your idea has gone off in directions you never expected. Maybe you’re having a hard time finding the time in your day.

Not only are those kind of negative thoughts unhelpful and depressing, they are also irrelevant.

Before NaNoWriMo began you probably had a vague idea for a novel you would eventually write. For this past week, no matter how many words you’ve actually written, you’ve been thinking about your novel. It’s no longer an abstract idea, but a concrete thing that you’ve started on. You’ve taken the biggest step in writing a novel: you’ve started.

Yes, of course, there’s a long way to go! But getting started, and sticking to it through those first negative thoughts, is the biggest obstacle. Writers are writers because they keep writing, not because everything works out exactly as they planned.

There are so many people in the world who believe that they have a brilliant idea for a novel. They’ll excitedly tell you the set-up for their novel and sketch the plot. But then, when you ask the fateful question, how much have you written? They’ll smile ruefully and shake their head. They haven’t started writing yet.

A lot of people are walking around, fully intending to write their novel…someday. They’re just waiting for inspiration to strike. When that magical, mystical day comes, they’re going to sit down and write the whole thing at once. Maybe that sounds realistic to them, but to me, that’s just crazy. It’s only when you sit down and start writing that you realize all the flaws in your carefully thought out story. That’s when you see the plot-holes, it’s when you realize that your dialogue sounds clunky. And when you get a chance to make it better.

So, while I’m glad that so many people are interested in writing, I’m always saddened that so many people have this dream and haven’t done anything to make it a reality.

That used to be you. You used to daydream about writing a novel. Not anymore. No matter how many words you’ve actually got down, you’ve stopped being an idle dreamer. Now you are getting it done.

You are a writer.