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There is No Try

Full disclosure: The first draft of the novel I am currently writing, my NaNoWriMo project, currently has a word count of about 8,900 words. Given my intentions last month and the fact that I mapped out that bad boy ahead of time, I should expect to have a higher word count. I have no excuses (no legitimate ones, anyway).

What I do have, however, is optimism. I’m not interested in writing some woe-is-me post because of my stumble. As I strolled through my tweet stream from today, I noticed a strong dichotomy among my fellow NaNo writers as people posted current word count: those that are at or above the halfway point and happy about it and those with fewer than 10,000 words. Those in the latter category indulged in self-defeating, why-did-I-even-try self-flagellation.

Bear with me here, but I feel an overwhelming urge to quote a great philosopher: “No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

That Yoda was a genius, wasn’t he? He knew that once we let the word “try” enter our vocabulary, we have already failed. We only try to do something we don’t really want to do. (“Sure, Mom, I’ll try to make it to Aunt Doris’ house to see her latch hook rug collection.” “Okay, honey, I will try to remember how that works.”)

I am not going to try to complete my NaNoWriMo draft by November 30. I’m not going to try to reach 50,000 words by then. If you haven’t finished your 50,000 words yet, you should not try to do it either.

Jump off the self-doubt track and WRITE! It is what I will do. It is what you should do too. Will those 50,000 words be ready to publish on November 30? Good grief, no. What we will have is a product of our imagination, a story that threatened to burst forth from our brains if we didn’t commit to its telling – the very reason we signed up for this in the first place.

Do not give up.