Will not Fade…

pen and paperI met a woman last week who has been on my mind for days.   When she learned I was a romance author, she confessed that she’d always planned to write a book.

Planned to

Something about that phrase makes me feel as if I’ve seen a ghost.  I actually get a little shiver and goose bumps rise on my skin.

There’s nothing more haunting than a story that doesn’t realize its potential.  Whether nothing more than an idea scribbled on a scrap of paper or twenty dusty pages on a shelf or one hundred neglected words on a hard drive, an abandoned story is  tragic.  What if no one had ever believed enough in their idea to bring it all the way to fruition?  As someone who is a lover of books, I can actually make myself ill thinking about it!papyrus

There are many things that stand in the way of finishing a book. 

Life, for one.  Errands must be run.  Family cared for.  Obstacles met and dealt with.  Songs sung.  Walks walked.  Skills, for another.  It takes time and energy to learn what you need to learn in order to do justice to the story you want to tell.

Overcoming those obstacles takes decision and action.

As many of you know, this year I’m participating in National Novel Writers Month.  Participates from all over the world sign up determined to write 50,000 words in the month of November, come hell or high water.

I love it!

stone tabletBecause more than anything NaNo celebrates decision and action.  You have to decide to do it and then you have to follow through.  There are Writing Buddies whose progress inspires you.  There’s a word count graph of your progress.  Concrete numbers and statics that don’t lie.  Right there in front of the world is either your elbow grease or your procrastination. 

How many amazing, entertaining, original, awe-inspiring, heart-warming tales have languished because their would-be writer didn’t make a decision and then follow through?

I’ve looked at this through the lens of story potential, but there’s an element of wasted human potential too.  Planned to…those have to be the saddest words in the english language.  Whether you plan to dance or travel or write or love do everything in your power to be sure the plan doesn’t become an unfulfilled dream!

I asked the woman why she had never written the book she’d planned to write.  Her eyes went wide and she struggled to find an anwer to my question as if not writing it was more logical than making a firm decision to write it and then follow through with that decision.  It was clear that her plan to write was as amorphous to her as a plan to climb Mount Everest would be to me…even though pen and paper were only inches from her fingers.

I may not reach 50,000 words this month, but it won’t be because I put my story aside and let it fade away.  It won’t be because I gave up on it or myself.  In the end, it doesn’t matter if you finish your story in a month or in a year…just be sure to finish.

I’ve decided to write and I do.  cave paintings

There’s no finer feeling than that!



2 Responses to “Will not Fade…”
  1. Amen! Follow through and persistence 🙂 Good luck, Barbara!

  2. Suzanne Rock says:

    Great post Barbara! there are many people who *say* that they want to write a book, but relatively few people *do*. With the roller coaster of submissions, sometimes it is worthwhile to take a step back and look at our accomplishments. We completed a book! How cool is that??? Even if it never sells, nobody can take that accomplishment away from us. 😉

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