Well, that’s a wrap! NaNoWriMo 2017 is over. I’m going to be as upfront as possible and say that it definitely did not go as planned. My first National Novel Writing Month was not won. I did not write 50,000 words. I even factored in what I wrote for my blog and freelancing work, and that only brought me just under 30,000 words. Being a full-time writer is hard. And most writers are not writing 50,000 words in one month. But, I would be lying if I said I was not a little disappointed in myself. I honestly thought I could do better. I’m in a Facebook group for local “WriMos,” and it was hard to see those 50,000 words updates start rolling in this week. I felt like I had completely failed. I didn’t even write every day. I had reasons for this: sickness, busyness with my freelancing job, not being at my computer all day, etc.
But here’s the thing: I did write. I started my book. My vision and my dream is starting to come true. I may not have gotten as far as I wanted, but I did make progress. It’s hard to see less progress than I wanted at the beginning of the month. It honestly makes me feel like a failure. But I cannot forget that the fact that I wrote on my book. It has substance, I wrote more than those who wish to write a book but have never started, and I have a better vision of where I am going with my book. That is success. That is progress. And that is winning. I may not be ordering a NaNoWriMo winner’s t-shirt this year, but I did participate, and I did write.
I may not have won, but I did make progress. And I am going to do something that scares me: instead of disparaging myself (I am a pro at this) for not reaching 50,000 words, I will count the words I did write as success. Slow and steady wins the race. And I will win this race. I will finish this book.
Here are my final statistics for 2017 NaNoWriMo (in all their shameful glory):
Days completed: 30
General daily goal: 1,800 words
Ideal daily goal: 2,000 words
Total words written: 5,783
Chapters written: Foreword, Chapter 1, most of Chapter 2
Brittany from Brittany’s Pages received a digital copy of what I have written last night, as she won the title contest. Tears in the Garden may not be completed, but it will be. This month may not have turned out the way I wanted (in many ways), but things happened. And, because excerpts are fun and also because what I wrote in the forward says a lot about how I’m feeling right now, one last teaser for the year:
There’s a saying that goes something like this: “Do something every day that scares you.” This is a decent and motivating saying, especially for those of us who have scary dreams. Now, by scary dreams I don’t mean nightmares. Although, I definitely get those. No, by scary dreams I mean aspirations and goals that are going to take a lot of work. There’s something about these dreams that is the most scary thing in the world. Forget natural disasters, war, famine, and terror attacks: doing the thing that you’ve always wanted to do can be terrifying. I know it is for me. The book you’re about to read has been over a decade in the making. The topic itself has been on my mind and heart for at least four years. But I have desired to write a book since I was a teenager.
What if I get it all wrong? What if one of my former professors reads it and is disappointed in who I’ve become? What if I mess up? What if I mislead someone? What if I don’t clearly communicate my point? These questions and more crop up in my mind every time I sit down to write. It is extremely important to me that, as a writer and (one day) teacher, I write and say what is true and right about Scripture. To put myself out there as an authority on anything Scripture says is terrifying, as I believe it should be. Those who take on the task of teaching or preaching on Scripture instantly become more accountable. What I say in this book will be taken to heart and I am responsible for making sure what I say is true to what God has written in the Bible. May it never be said of me that I led someone astray.
There’s a saying that I have taken to heart in this writing process in addition to “do something every day that scares you.” It goes something like this: “If you write it, people may or may not read it. But if you don’t write it, no one will ever be able to read it.” My husband stumbled upon and sent me this quote around the beginning of my research process. I had just recently launched my blog, Finding Land. I was fretting about whether or not people would want to read what I have to say. What use is there in writing if no one reads it? Ah, but what if someone does? If I never write it, I’ll never know. And besides, I write not for the praise of others. My goal must always be to write for the glory of God, no matter if it ever gets read.
Soli Deo Gloria. To the glory of God alone.