Oh No! NaNoWriMo

Technically, if I really wanted to, I could lie to you. I could say something along the lines of, “My novel is going GREAT! I’m writing the next American classic. It’s soooo easy to write a novel in a month.” It isn’t. It isn’t going great. It isn’t anything I would even shelf with a so-so book, let alone a classic. And considering how not-great it’s shaping up to be, you’d think it would be easier, but it’s not. If I wanted to I could lie about all of this and you’d never really know the difference, but I won’t because while my novel is not-great, it isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever written either.

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Trying to reach word count goals has led to superfluous word use and weird plot twists. Trying to be a good mom and wife has led to not reaching most of some of those word count goals. Both of those bumps in the path—among many others—have, at various times, made me feel like throwing my keyboard across the room a tiny bit overwhelmed. The reason I continue trying, and the reason I decided to be honest about my not-great novel, is because it’s nothing new. Anyone who has ever even attempted to write a novel has had difficulty at some point in the process. Even the best of the best, whether you consider that to be Jane Austen, Stephen King, or Dr. Seuss, has had a few rough patches here and there. Here are a few quotes from other authors that have helped me keep writing, even when I wanted to throw in the proverbial towel.

“If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.” – Richard Rhodes

“If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Dan Poynter


“I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.” – Steve Martin

“Ever tried and failed? No matter. Try again and fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

So for anyone else—NaNoWriMo participant or not—who is also having trouble with their novels, you aren’t alone; the important thing it to keep trying. My work in progress may be not-great, but every now and then after I’ve dug all I can out of a scene, I strike upon a precious gem of insight and that alone is enough to keep me going. Maybe after many, many (and probably many more after that) revisions, I will be able to remove the “not” and simply have a great novel.  Hopefully.

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Right now my novel is way behind where it should be, but if I can complete it, even if it’s past the November deadline, it won’t matter to me how bad it is because I will love it all the same. For now, I’ll leave you with the quote that is pushing me forward at the moment.

“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.” – Peter Mayle

Have you hit a roadblock on your novel writing journey? What inspires you to keep going?