21 Days of Posts – Day 14 – What If I Never Finish Or Publish Anything?

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

This is day fourteen of twenty-one days of posts between January 10th and January 30th of 2021. Hello again to those who read previous days, and hello to those of you who may have stumbled across this post “out of order”. You should go back and read from Day 1, for a few reasons. It explains why I am doing this. It is the first one, and I may make reference to something in it in this post or a later one. It also has a list with each day’s post (once they are available) and you can jump to whatever topic you are interested in. Thanks for reading!

It is a sobering question. For all the work I have put into writing, what if I never finish, much less publish a single thing? What would that mean for me? Honestly, I don’t know. My writing urges come and go, my creativity with them. I always seem to be able to psyche myself up for November and NaNoWriMo, but after that mad rush of thirty days, things tend to more easily get in the way of me writing.

Which is why I have committed to doing these posts. It is doubtful that anyone besides me will ever read them, if I am being completely honest with myself. That thought makes me want to just quit sometimes, other times, it makes me want to write more, just to have done it. Continuing on the “being honest” theme, I will have to step up my game to actually finish a book, even though I have ten or so works in progress. As the dial approaches “finished” it gets harder and harder to push on, to continue to revise, or even to draft. Brutal honesty requires me to proclaim that I have not, in the ten years I have written, actually finished a first draft of any novel.

That leads to the question of why? Why haven’t I at least finished a first draft of a novel? I have multiple works with an adequate amount of words, but none of them are complete. They don’t tell a story. They are a series of events that happen to fictional characters, but they are not stories. Characters don’t develop. Story arcs are not completed. Conflict is not resolved, or in some cases, not even engaged. Admittedly, it is hard to close the loop on a story; to finally put all the pieces into a finished puzzle that is worth viewing, or as the case may be, reading.

I am coming to the conclusion that to finish even a first draft of a novel, I will have to engage in some planning, some “preparation after the start”, to organize these series of events into working novels. It is tedious work, and without a good incentive, or even a poor incentive, I will not do the required work. Realistically, I get nothing out of completing NaNoWriMo except the satisfaction that I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. The certificate, the discounts, they are, in the grand scheme of things, worth nothing. But being able to say, “I did it” at the end of November is worth it. How interesting.

Which brings me back to the original question…what if I never finish or publish anything? I believe, in this moment, that I will be OK with that outcome. But I should not be. I should be pushing myself further, harder. I should come up with an incentive that entices me to work, to strive, to organize, to plan, to write. I now set before me the goal of devising an incentive by the end of the fast, so that I can carry the momentum I have in writing these twenty-one posts into completing a book.

Paul, in the book of Hebrews, tells us in chapter 12 about the ultimate incentive. In the very first verse of the chapter, through verse 2, he tells us:

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Fix our eyes on Jesus. Now that is a worthy incentive to live a life reflecting God. If we take that idea to heart, I believe we will find the strength to endure whatever hardship this life tries to throw at us. It won’t be fun, it won’t be comfortable, and it certainly will not resemble how other people deal with hardship. But it will be worth it.

Lord, help me to keep You front and center of my life, so that everything I do will reflect Your love, your grace, and your mercy to others. Make me stick out. Make me different, and unashamed to be different. Help me to remember that I am amidst a great cloud of witnesses and give me the courage and strength to throw off everything that hinders me and to resist the sin and temptation put before me. Help me to fix my eyes on you.

Featured Image: Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

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