I pray you don’t look at me, I pray I don’t look back

The novel writing begins. I thought Nano would be a great opportunity to write that novel that has always been sitting at the tip of my tongue. All those nights that I can’t sleep, pages and pages of it write themselves in my mind. The characters have been dancing around for ages. They have been there for so long, that I am sure that they must be getting tired. If I don’t capture them now, they might be so exhausted that they won’t be there anymore when I am finally ready to write.

It is day 3. I have 5,000 words down and I am happy with about 27 of them. One of the things about nano is that you are not supposed to delete things you don’t like. In some ways, it is an exercise. You write and write and write. It won’t be your best work. It might be complete crap. But at the end of the month you will have 50,000 words and you are supposed to be proud of that. 
I recently read “Outliers” and in the book the Gladwell notes that we don’t need to be extremely talented to succeed. The smartest people aren’t the ones that get the furthest in life. In fact, you only need to be smart enough. Once you reach a certain threshold, you basically have the same tools as the genius. At that point, it becomes a matter of what you do with what you have, opposed to how much you have of it.
Gladwell also talks about the 10,000 hours rule. He asserts that to be really successful in any area, you have to have dedicated 10,000 hours to honing and perfecting that skill. He points to people like Gates, Oppenheimer, the Beatles, or Michael Jordan. All of them had put in 10,000 hours in their craft before they made it. Talent gets you to the playing field, but then you have to log those hours. You have to pay your dues.
We aren’t born geniuses as much as we’d like to think that some people were. When you look at the best writers, scientists, or athletes, they worked and worked to create the magic that inspires us all. The overnight success is a myth. Nobody wakes up and can play Wimbledon level tennis or can write like Arthur Miller or Sylvia Plath.
The truth is my book is probably going to suck. It is not even the story I’ve wanted to write all this time. I am too scared to write that one. But hour by hour I am putting in my dues. I might not be a great writer even if I do. But I definitely won’t, if I don’t. 

One comment

  1. So true. (And how did Nano go, btw?) Most of my favorite books took their authors 10 years to write. I keep telling myself that as I keep trying, trying, and feeling discouraged each birthday that I'm not yet finished. Keep writing!

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