Did you finish?
Yes, no? Did you at least try? Then congratulations are in order
Chuck Wendig on terribleminds.com (if you have never seen his site, go, read, this post will stil be here when you get done) offered this this morning
"What matters is you. What matters is the work.
And right now, you've got something.
I don't know if it's finished or not. Did you win or lose?
Forget winning and losing."
And really, sure I won, and I got a banner and a printable certificate, and I will get a shirt for Christmas I am sure (the shirts are really cool this year!) but those are merely things.
What I really got is much better than that. Better than fresh out of the oven peanut butter (or if you don't like, or heaven forbid are allergic, chocolate chip, or oatmeal, or sugar, or insert your favorite type of warm cookie here) cookies. Better than most of my Christmas presents'll be. Better than se- nope, but you get the picture. It's pretty damned good.
I got a story, it may not be good yet (I think it is but I have yet to hear opinions other than my own family's, they're a bit biased). I have a piece of rough stone, that when put into the river called editing, can come out as a polished piece, something I might be proud to put on my mantle, or even sell to someone else to put on their mantle.
And it's mine. All mine, well, except for the fact that I am sharing it with the entire f'n internet over on Wattpad. But it is mine, and I am proud of it, and I am going to ride that feeling for a little while.
This is not my time to parrot Chuck (did you click that link above, here it is again if you didn't, terribleminds.com) but he made some good points and offered some good suggestions on what to do now that the whole shindig is over, so go read it.
This is my opportunity to reflect, and I am sure there will be more thoughts as time wages on, but here they go in no particular order:
1) I've still got it. No, i'm not a good writer (maybe I am, but that is not for me to say), what I still have is the desire to be a writer, to be a better writer. The desire to write!
2) Not every story is worth 50k words. Sometimes, you are writing fluff or filler, and you know you are because of that word count. Don't stop! Sometimes a gem will drop into your lap, if you are writing, continue to write, there will a pass or two (or three) where you will trim the fat and change things around, but leave them there to get trimmed, to be changed.
3) Holy shit, writing is hard. Writing is work and it should be treated as such, especially if you want to be a professional about it. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
4) Holy shit, writing is fun. And when it stops being fun is when you take a step back and wonder, is it the subject that is not fun, the story, or the task? If it is the subject, shelf it and pick a different idea. If it is the story, try telling it from a different angle. If it is the task, and you still think you really want to write, examine how you write, where you write. Or maybe, writing is not for you. Not everyone is meant to be driving down the highway behind the wheel of a twenty ton cement mixer either.
5) I've got plenty more ideas in my head. And some of them deserve to come out.
6) I need space to write. I spent quite a bit of time at home this November and writing with a toddler, a wife (who means well mind you, but she has needs, and things to do too) and an infant, as well as two teenagers who want to be driven here or taken there, or would like to know if I'd like to meet their new boyfriend, or yada yada yada, blah blah blah. What this did not give me was the solitude to focus on writing or develop meaningful streaks and momentum. Did the story suffer from it? I don't know, it did offer quite a bit of time for some reflection.
7) I work better with goals and deadlines. Imagine that, but as I look at the chart of my progress, I was behind (see previous bullet for one of the reasons), but I always knew where I was supposed to be, and that, at least in my head made it easier to catch up.
Where do we go from here? I'm not going to link that site again (maybe I should... nah) but my first goal is to relax a bit, maybe take a shower after the brutality that last month was. And then I have a story by the name of Underground Princes to finish while some other people give me some solid feedback on Into the Darkness. Then I will be trimming the fat, combing out it's hair, dressing it up, and overall throwing it into that edit river i mentioned above, so it can get that sheen that I feel this one deserves.