In a Glass, Darkly

I’m learning to do a number of things. I am learning to plan the plot of a novel. I am learning that if you don’t stick to the plan you can find yourself at the end of the story before you have told the beginning and middle, or even the bulk of the end, in sufficient detail.

I am learning that setting, and keeping daily goals are the key to achieving long term goals. I have also figured out that a time based goal may serve my purpose better than a word count based goal. For example, I can decide to write for an hour each morning instead of writing a minimum of a thousand words a day. I will keep up the word count based goal until the end of the month in order to meet the fifty thousand words in thirty days challenge of NaNoWriMo however.

I have learned that in order to accomplish things you have to do something first. It sounds trivial but it’s true. I’ve also learned that just because you do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you will accomplish anything. It’s one of those “necessary but not sufficient” type of constraints.

In the final analysis, it turns out that writing a good, entertaining, exciting, grammatically correct, coherent, story is inherently difficult. You have to combine a lot of skills. You have to give it lots of thought. You have to show up and write every day. You have to finish a draft, and then another, and yet another, until eventually you get it right.

If you give up before you finish, you will fail. If your idea is not as good as you initially thought it was, you may fail. But if you don’t sit down and write every day until you’ve written it, you will certainly fail. As unfair as it seems, sometimes just showing up every day is the bulk of the effort.

It’s not down to talent, luck, or connections. It is persistence, pure and simple. Talent, luck, and connection can help, but again, they are not sufficient alone.

These realizations ought to depress me but they are having the opposite effect. I am actually more encouraged after writing this blog post than I was when I sat down. I have written a coherent essay, off the top of my head, without having composed it before hand. I have proof read it and discovered only minor usage edits. And now I post it.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.