It has been my goal for over a year to write a novel. I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) last year, and I ended up with well over 60,000 words of stories with no cohesion.
At the beginning of August, I saw an advertisement for a writing contest with an award of $25,000, and I told myself, I am entering that contest. The deadline was August 31, and I had about three weeks to make it happen. It didn’t have to be a completed manuscript; the minimum submission was 24 pages. I kept taking scenes I had written last year and trying to fit them together into something that made sense.
With ten days left, it looked like there was no way I would ever get anything even remotely ready in time. But I kept trying, deleting and rewriting until just one of the original scenes remained, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote.
Finishing the manuscript
I don’t even know where the ending came from or if it will make sense to an outside reader. I was sitting in a cafe in Bangkok when it just poured out of me. There was no time to ask a friend to proofread it. I didn’t even correct it to the extent that I wanted to. But I hit publish on 60 pages of a story that I could easily turn into more. I uploaded it as a Kindle e-book a day before the deadline and entered the contest.
What I earned
I do not expect to win $25,000. But I won something better, the feeling of achievement. I did what I set out to do, and I became a published writer. The goal was to finish something. I wanted to publish a book so that I can call myself an author. The fear of not being good enough is out of the way.
I’m not writing this so that you will download my book. I’m not even going to tell you the name. Right now, I might be embarrassed if someone read it. This one time, it wasn’t about views or likes or claps. It was about my ability to follow through and produce. This is more of an, “If I can do it, you can, too!”
Where’s the Book Now?
It’s sitting out there in cyberspace, filled with novice mistakes and any spelling errors not picked up by Grammarly. I’ve thought about taking it down. But instead, I guess I’ll proofread it after I get some space. I don’t know if its any good.
But I know one thing, the next book I write will be better than the first.
“Action is the fundamental key to all success.” — Pablo Picasso