Writing Is Not A Race

Writing

So. I’m just about done with the first draft of the latest WIP. It’s no longer a WIP, exactly—more like a WAD. A Work Almost Done. Long road ahead, I’m sure, but right now it feels good to have reached this stage. It’s taken a lot longer than I expected, and there were definitely times when it felt like I would never get there. Adding to that sense of never-gonna-get-there was the fact that, throughout the process, I watched as other writers finished their projects. Writers who had started at the same time as me, or even after. I read their posts on social media, noted their word count, tracked their progress—even saw some of them get their books published.

Being friends with other writers—online and IRL—is, of course, a double-edged sword. On one side, it serves as a source of motivation. On the other it can be dangerous. Damaging, even. You can start to view writing as a race. You look around and think, well, shit. Everyone is writing. Everyone is finishing their books. Everyone is forging ahead with their writing career, and reaping the multitudinous rewards that all published writers clearly enjoy…

Everyone except me.

And again, sometimes that can be a motivating factor. You think, wow, I really need to get my arse in gear. Get them words down. And you do. Of course. There’ll be times when you find yourself powering through, hammering out the words in a frenzy of productivity. There’ll be other times when you have to take it slower, either by choice or necessity—times when you have to tend to other matters. There’ll also be times when you feel like writing is the last thing in the world you want to do. On those occasions, you’ll either push on through anyway, or you won’t, and you’ll have to deal with that particular brand of guilt and discomfort that only writers feel when they’re not writing.

But that too is just part of the process. It’s all part of the process, just like Morcheeba said. Hell, there’s even a case for saying that the fannying about on Youtube is part of the process. Maybe. What I’m saying is, don’t panic. Seriously. Just remember: not everyone in the world is writing. In fact, most people are not writing. Most people are walking around, looking at their phones, watching porn, talking shit about someone Twitter, picking their nose, fixing the guttering, teaching kids their times tables. As long as you’re not doing any of those things—or, at least, not all the time, and certainly not at the same time—you’re all good, as far as I’m concerned.

Ultimately, your goal is to write the best damn book you can write. How you do that, and how quickly you do it, well, that’s something only you can determine. Or, rather, the work will determine it. As D. Foy once told me, the work will show you the way. Whether it takes you six months or six years, you’ll get it done—as long as you submit to the process, embrace it, and remember why you started down this damn path in the first place.