I make no secret of the fact that I'm an aspiring writer and am participating in National Novel Writing Month. Recently I read on the NaNo website an inspirational message from writer Chris Cleave and decided to share thirteen of my favorite sentences from that message. I can only hope he would approve. Here goes:
Often sheer euphoria at your own brilliance will keep you writing late into the night, and you can hardly sleep because what you’ve written is so damned good. Then you wake up the next day and read it, and you realize it’s a pile of self-indulgent crap. This happens to me two days out of five. Then you get the opposite case, where you beat yourself up because the ideas are coming so slowly and all your dialogue seems timid and pedestrian. A week later you might look back on that day as a pretty solid performance, where your characters were honest with each other and maybe even created a couple of touching moments.
The more I learn about the writing process, the more I suspect that there is no such thing as a bad day at the keyboard. Sometimes you need slow days where you work through a dozen ideas that aren’t destined to fly. It creates a kind of intensity that eventually goads your brain into giving you a good day. Or sometimes, if you keep having slow days, then perhaps the novel really is asking you a deeper question about whether your plot, or your characterization, or your theory about the human heart really is up to scratch. Experience is knowing when you’re having a slow day, versus when you’re having a slow novel.
The good days are when you perform; the slow days are when you learn to perform better. The only bad days as a writer are the ones when you are too cowardly or too lazy to sit down at the keyboard and give it everything you have.
If you can sit down at the keyboard every day in November and give it everything you have, then there is no writer on earth who is better than you.