November is National Novel Writing Month. It’s also Finish-What-You-Started month. Unofficially, that is.
Two years ago I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo. The point of the challenge is to write everyday and to end up with 50 000 words of a new novel by November 30. The quality of the novel doesn’t matter. The fact that you finished it does.
Most of the time writer-types are perfectionists. I know this is true for me. Sometimes I slave over an article because I want to get it perfect the first time, forgetting that there’s this precious thing called editing that gives way to the final copy.
Hence why this month I’m committing to writing a novel. Like I said before – two years ago I decided to undertake this challenge. My novel was lame – so lame that I dare not repeat the plot. I had no plan; I simply started writing the first thing that came to mind. But who cares! That’s the point of the whole process!
But here’s the super-lame part: I quit after 4 days. I knew it was a big challenge to undertake and though it scared me it thrilled me too. But sometimes when I start off really excited about something, that excitement fizzles as the days wear on and the reality of real work – hard work – sets in.
So like I said, not only is this National Novel Writing Month, but for me it’s also Finish-What-You-Started month.
Like that old thimble shelf that I sanded and started refinishing in September. Only I stopped short of the final coat of paint.
Or that book about finance (Smart Women Finish Rich) that my brother bought me two Christmases ago. Even though the book blows my mind every time I pick it up I’ve yet to finish it, which would indicate two things: I’m neither smart nor rich.
And what about changing my addresses? We moved in July and there’s still one address I’ve yet to change – the bank that handles my RRSP. Oh, I hear about it from my mom everyday! But do I pick up the phone and do something about it? Ha!
And then there’s my half-marathon training. In the summer I was training for a 5K which slowly but surely progressed into a 10K. I pulled a muscle in my leg last month and had to stop running for three weeks. But did I start again? Naaaaaah!
I don’t want to be a quitter. I was watching The Amazing Race last night and I got so mad when Chad (who seriously needs to loosen up and trust his girlfriend Stephanie. Trust is two-way street, Chad!) wanted to give up on the Detour because he felt like “it was over” for them. Stupid!!
But I get it. Things get hard. They’re not as fun as they once were. The excitement fizzles. So you quit. My goal here is not about writing a best-selling novel (I highly doubt I’ll write anything worth reading). It’s not about executing my tasks with perfection. It’s just about finishing. Persevering. Working with excellence. That’s what November’s all about!
To take some great advice from the Little Engine That Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
And to you, whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, trying to get your assignments and projects done, or persevering through your own equally tiresome task: You can too!