This time last year, I had just finished NaNoWriMo. The result was a very poor fantasy novel…so poor that it will likely be scrapped for spare parts rather than revised. But that’s not all. I had also pitched an idea to The Lego Group for a new theme as well as built items for the annual Creations for Charity event (five of which sold).
This year, I have also completed NaNoWriMo, resulting in a strange but flat coming-of-age tale from apathetic “adultolescence” into true adulthood. I pitched nothing to Lego directly, but I donated another five builds to Creations for Charity (only one of which sold).
Both months required effort and discipline, and both seemed to have yielded very little reward. As I look toward 2014, I wonder if I will do them again. I wonder if I should bother–part of me does not think so, but that is small part. In fact, most of me cannot wait for another opportunity; much of my heart longs for it. Indeed, it is true that last year’s November efforts yielded very little for me personally, but they provided Lego to children and also showed me that it is possible to complete a full draft of a book in less than thirty days. This year resulted in less Lego for the kids (sadly), but I learned that I could complete a draft of a book in under 30 days while working 40 hours a week at a hard job.
I guess the point of the story is this: hard work and discipline can be rewards in and of themselves, and they may teach us valuable lessons about ourselves that enable us to reach that next seemingly-impossible goal. Yes, we face disappointment along the way. Yes, we wish to quit. And yes, sometimes we feel like we are in no better place than when we began. Frankly, from a certain perspective, all of things might be true; however, a runner who sprints a lap also feels disappointment if he loses, also wishes to stop during the grueling last stretch, and also feels that he has accomplished nothing in the end if he has no reward to show for it. But he does, for he ran. His body strengthened; he grew in will. And those are worth something.
At least this is what I tell myself. How about you fellow writers? When you’ve knocked out that article or that post, but they go unread and unnoticed, what do you learn? How do you come back to the track for another race?
Food for thought as we look toward the year to come, esp. if the last twelve months did not work as one had planned.
Thanks for reading,