Wednesday, December 3, 2008


It's funny how one element in my life can echo another. I think it's God's way of hitting me over the head with a brick. And let me tell ya, I really try to pay attention, because the bricks only get heavier. He loves me that much. {sigh}

The 2008 NaNoWriMo is over. I failed miserably—depending on how you look at it. I did not come close to 50,000 words. But I learned a few things about me and my writing along the way.

First, I love to just sit down and write free-style. I haven't looked yet, but I bet I have some decent, salvageable stuff. There's a freedom in letting the story rule. Allowing art to flow with its agenda, not mine. Very Steven King-ish.

Second, if I do this again (and I'm seriously considering it because the coaches were so incredible), I know I need to make every attempt to crank out my 50,000 words by November 19th. That's my husband's birthday and the unofficial start to our family holidays and commitments. That means that rather than 1,667 words a day, I'll need to focus on . . . 2,778 a day. It's easy to say this now, but I think I could do that. It would be a huge stretch for me, but hey, it wouldn't be special otherwise.

One of the gurus with Nano wrote about the aftermath. What do we have now? Just a bunch of first draft drivel? Well, yeah. But that drivel could be the start of something great.

Which brings me to the echo.

In Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, I read a few corresponding ideas today:

Quitting is fundamentally different from STOPPING. The latter happens all the time. Quitting happens once. Quitting means not starting again—and art is all about starting again.

This means that the only way you can fail is if you quit. Whether it's your novel or your sales goals or your marriage. Keep showing up.

Vision is always ahead of execution—and it SHOULD be.

My first draft is not my final draft. My vision of the words and the story will get closer with each rewrite I complete.

Most artists don't daydream about making great art—they daydream about HAVING MADE great art.

Hello. Forget the pain, the beautiful words I had to delete, the days I sat here and knew deep within my soul that I was an imposter. Write? Me?

My daydream is about my fabulous breakout novel that amazes my family and makes my worst critics say, "I always knew she had it in her."

And here, more than any other place came the echoes for Nano:

I've had the wonderful opportunity of wandering through Leo Tolstoy's house in Moscow. I'll save the details for another post, but Tolstoy, before Word, re-wrote War & Peace not once, not twice, but eight times. As it was finally rolling to press he was still frantically revising. Before Word? Before an IBM Selectric even? He didn't quit. He didn't quit. Oy.

Bayles and Orland tells me: The truth is that the piece of art which seems so profoundly right in its finished state may earlier have been only inches or seconds away from total collapse.

So I've come full circle.

I will not quit.

Still reading: Fractured


  1. You have coaches for NaNo? That makes it sound more interesting.

  2. We received emails from our local writers as well as weekly (or better), emails from national published authors providing encouragement, personal stories relating to their writing experiences, and general darned good motivation.

    Those emails were the coolest.