Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: writing the first draft

A jogger forms a backdrop for Jim Rohn's words: "How long should you try? Until."

Playing a long game

This post is for everyone who hasn’t yet dropped out of NaNoWriMo. And really for everyone who’s pursuing a long, hard effort they believe in. Whatever your struggle, you’re playing a long game. Persistence is the key.

Vince Lombardi's words, "Winners never quit, and quitters never win," accompany a photo of ducklings struggling to climb a steep curb.

If you’re still hanging in there for NaNoWriMo, you’re entering Week Three, today. By now you’re probably tired. You may have missed a few days, or fallen short of a few benchmarks you’d set for yourself. 

You may have begun to wonder if this is really worth it. Take heart. It is. In any long game, persistence is the key.

This quote comes from Napoleon Hill: "Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." The background photo is a rocky seashore.

Doubts are natural. But doubt is poison.

All writers have doubts. And if you’re trying to pile up thousands and thousands of words in a very short period of time time, you’re probably having double and triple doubts. 

You know what you’re writing isn’t polished. Hope what you’re writing is good. Fear what you’re writing is garbage.

It doesn’t matter. Not at this point. You’re playing a long game, so the key thing you need is persistence.

A quote attributed to Thomas Foxwell Burton says, "with ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable."

The road to quality starts here.

Save the heartburn over polish for rewrites. What you’re doing right now is simply getting it down in an editable format. It’s the essential first step to a finished draft you can be proud of

Even if much of what you write this month has to be trashed or overhauled, it’s a start. It’s more than you had written before. It’s always easier to rewrite than to write it the first time through.

You’re doing hard work, essential work. And you’re honoring the long game, where persistence is key. So hang in there.

Against a colorful background, this quote from poet Avijeet Das says, "Struggle for your art. Die for your art. But you can never give up on your art!"

The long game

If NaNoWriMo is like story structure, then you’re entering the crucial third quarter. The second half of Act Two, if that’s how you prefer to think of it. You’re closing in on the rising action–which means you might be facing a Dark Night of the Soul.

Keep writing, anyway. At the chosen time each day, park yourself in the chair at your desk, in the coffehouse booth, poised over your pad, or wherever you write. Make words happen. Keep writing.

You’re playing a long game. Persistence is the key.

A jogger in action forms the backdrop for this quote by Jim Rohn: "How long should you try? Until."


NOTE: This post is one of several I’ve published during this month and last, in honor of National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short). Others in this series so far include “It’s getting on toward time. Are you ready?” “Will you or won’t you Na-No-Wri-Mo?” and “An ideal writing space.” Stay tuned for more!

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to The Diary Store, for the Vince Lombardi quote; to good ol’ BrainyQuote, for the Napoleon Hill graphic; to Life11-Scribble and Scrawl’s “10 Quotes on Nurturing Talent,” for the quote from the rather elusive Thomas Foxwell Burton (It’s possible the name is actually Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton. He was a British Baronet and an abolitionist active in the 18th century); and to Everyday Power, for the illustrated quotes from Avijeet Das and Jim Rohn. I am deeply grateful to all!

Working on a first draft?

Why would anyone try to write a novel? It’s an appropriate question for Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month). Personally, I’m in great sympathy with Toni’s reason:

In my experience, writing the first draft of any project, especially a novel, is an exercise in faith. Faith that you’ll work out the problems, that you have something interesting to say, that you’ll find good, better, and even-better-than-that ways to say it. Everything is possible at the beginningespecially in my chosen field of science fiction.

But then you start to create your world. And that means rules begin to appear. Now if you want to break those rules, you have to change the world. Sometimes it’s worth it. But if you do, it’s okay. It’s the first draft.

If that’s a little too free-form for you, this thought may capture your creative process better:

However you manage to create your first draft–and whatever it looks like at the end, I have just one more thought for you:

IMAGES: Many thanks to Laugh.Love.Live, for the Toni Morrison quote; to Chasing the Turtle and Alice Walker for the quote about flying; to Writingeekery and Shannon Hale, for the “shoveling sand” quote; and to P.S. BartlettAuthors Publish, and the late Terry Pratchett, for the “telling yourself the story” quote. Finally, many thanks to Novel Kicks, for the unattributed “best and worst” quote. So True!

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