The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.
I woke up today to a countdown notification I have set on my phone for the start of NaNoWriMo.
29 DAYS LEFT. GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR.
Did I, at this point, jump to my feet and dance around my room as billions of inspired ideas bounced around my head and onto the first sheet of paper I could find?
Unfortunately, I didn’t break into song as if I were in a Disney movie. I turned off my alarm, rolled over, and lay in bed, staring at the ceiling as I started to think about what the coming month would entail.
I think all writers are faced with this existential question at some point: what is the purpose of my writing? What am I trying to achieve? What do I want to do with my creations?
I admit. That’s pretty heavy for 7:30 in the morning.
But every October, I shrink the magnitude of those questions down and ask myself the same thing with NaNo in mind: what is your goal, Beatrice?
50,000 words in a month, doh!
The word count is a goal, yes, but what are you trying to achieve with those 50,000 words? What happens after you’re done penning that novel you have on your mind?
Now, I haven’t approached every NaNoWriMo with this amount of thinking and deliberation. It’s perfectly fine to write a novel just for fun or to use NaNo as an opportunity to get back into your writer’s groove. In fact the years I winged it purely for my own pleasure ended up being some of the best!
However, my perspective of NaNoWriMo has evolved as much as I have over the years. Making time to write is a challenge, and gosh, do I miss the days when I celebrated literary release every November as a school, even university, student!
Adulting is a challenge of its own and I’ve been spending a huge chunk of my time working on building up my freelance business and looking after my family. And while my professional life has started to thrive, slowly but surely, my manuscript for a novel I’ve been planning to query has been collecting dust for the better part of the year.
After multiple revisions, drafts, editor mishaps, and beta-reader consultations, I finally have all the feedback I need to rewrite my fifth draft. But what’s holding me back isn’t just the personal and professional commitments I’ve made: it’s my self-doubt.
I’ve been working on this novel for five years now and now, finally, I’m in the final stretch. This rewrite would constitute the sixth and final draft before I begin querying agents and taking my first official step into the publishing industry. As exciting as it is, it’s also incredibly nerve-wracking.
“No matter how many drafts I write, what if it’s not good enough?”
“It’s been so long since I’ve written freely! What if my words don’t flow the same way?”
“Maybe you should just stick to freelance writing full-time. Publishing can wait…it’s not like it’s all you’ve ever dreamt of as a little girl…*coughs*”
But you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, right?
A year and a half ago, I left my corporate job and the plush cushion of job security at an amazing firm in order to find myself again, reinvigorate my passions, and pursue writing full-time. I thought to myself: “if not now, when?” I was scared to the bone to break the “status quo” but I believed in myself.
A year and a half later, I’ve gone above and beyond the goals I set myself. 2020, despite everything that’s happening, has been my most productive year yet – professionally and personally!
Maybe it’s time I make that commitment to this manuscript too. NaNoWriMo is a motivator for that, sure, but that final push should come from within.
So, that’s what I’m going to do this month: plan, plot, and prepare myself to write the killer final draft of my novel so I’m one step closer to achieving my life’s dream.
It’s time to embrace that fear.
Would you like to be a part of my publishing journey?