Saturday, 2 March 2013

Climbing a mountain.

Climbing a mountain is tough.
Don't be too hard on yourself if it takes a while.

Writing a novel, for me, sometimes feels like the ultimate challenge: it’s climbing Everest; it’s running a marathon; it’s the Iron Man Triathlon. 

It’s a ‘one man against the elements’ kind of thing.  When I’m at my computer, there’s nothing but my own skill and determination to fight on through, to carry on, to make it to the end.  And it’s tough, make no mistake: novels are long, and the task needs due respect and consideration if you’re going to make it.

You wouldn’t turn up at the start line for the London Marathon with no preparation, or expect to finish it in half an hour.  If you go with that mentality, it will punish you. 

Nanowrimo annoys me for this reason: to sell the idea that someone can produce a piece of work worth anything in a month is deceitful, at best.  Besides, the 50,000 words required by Nanowrimo is not novel-length, by my reckoning.  (For example, The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time (Haddon, 2003) weighs in at 71,000 words, and that’s not all that long.)

Although, I admit, perhaps it’s people actually sitting down and finishing something in a month that annoys me, whilst I’ve been working on the same project for close to three years.

I work in Higher Education these days, with students producing theses of 80,000 words.  That’s more like it.  They have 3-4 years to produce this work, with a lot of support from supervisors and fellow students.  Writers like me, on the other hand, are producing that amount of work alone. 

Be proud of being a novel writer, even if you never get anything published.  Not every marathon runner gets a medal, but those who finish achieve something most only dream of.

Keep writing.