I’ve made it to the beginning of week three. At this point, people participating in NaNoWriMo have fallen into a few distinct categories. They’ve either quit, started another project, pushed through and are continuing their original project, or have completed their manuscripts. I land in the third category. I fought hard last week with the urge to give up or change to another project. Writing a book is not easy and anyone who tells you it is, isn’t doing it right.
So this week, I’m pushing through and have the goal of 30k words at the least. That will bring me to over 43K words total. I have every intention of pulling it off. Just like I did last week, and didn’t achieve it, but this week is different. What’s different about last week and this week? Simple, I figured out what the real hold up was.
You see, there’s one thing that happens to all writers that is unavoidable. It’s the dreaded “depressions/what the heck am I doing ” syndrome. This syndrome pops up and challenges each of us. No matter how long you’ve been a writer, how many books you’ve published, how many times you’ve hit the NY Times Best Sellers List, you will grapple with this unwanted reality.
There’s this little being that sits on your shoulder and tells you that you don’t have what it takes to finish the book, let alone sell it. The little being, let’s call him Harvey, is the first to criticize you for every little mistake along the way. It’s Harvey’s job to keep you from achieving your goal. And Harvey actually believes he’s doing you a favor. You see, Harvey, is a product of the fear in all of us. He was created because fear, a natural response to something new or difficult, is trying to protect you.
However, Harvey doesn’t get that sometime’s the more he needles at you, the more you are going to do the opposite just to show him you can. Harvey should be used as a means to achieve your goals. Harvey should only be that “I dare you” thought in your head. He should never be the one to keep you from your dreams.
So to all of my writing colleagues who are busting their hump, either for NaNoWriMo, or just to finish that first novel, or fifth, push through. Ignore Harvey and purpose everyday to take one step closer to your goal. Use Harvey as a tool, like a shovel to uncover what and why are you afraid. You have power over the shovel, Harvey shouldn’t be allowed to use the shovel to cover you up.
Write your book. Hit your goals of 50k or 80k words. Then, go out and celebrate. Because you will have done something that millions of people only talk about and never accomplish. You will have written your book. And only you can lay claim to that unique achievement.
Write on and write well!