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It Doesn’t Matter How Long It Takes, If You’re Working

Chuck Wendig is my new favorite Twitter account to follow. I have learned that every link is worth the click-through and every Tweet is a gem in itself. For example:

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 6.17.57 PMSometimes I lament that I’m approaching two years of work on my first novel and am six months into my second novel. I see people online churning them out in a couple months. People who are selling these books in droves. I read about famous authors who’ve published four dozen novels in their lives. And I’m thinking, “Wow, I’ve got one and a half that nobody but my family has read so far. What the heck am I doing with my time?”

Well, actually, I can tell you the answer to that. In 2011, I moved from Los Angeles to Oregon with the idea that I could focus more on my writing. Since then, I’ve been:

  • Working full-time for a living as a writer and editor
  • Writing every single day in one form or another – copy writing, ghostwriting, fiction writing, article writing
  • Editing other writers five out of seven days per week
  • Taking courses non-stop through local writing institutes like The Attic, as well as UCLA Writers’ Program, MediaBistro, LitReactor, and more
  • Doing freelance work as a ghostwriter and proofreader
  • Reading craft book after craft book on fiction writing
  • Reading book after book on grammar and the English language
  • Reading article after blog post after article on how to write for the Internet, for novels, for short stories, for copy, and for just about anything else you can imagine
  • Reading, reading, reading, all day long
  • Teaching other people to write (this one is big)

So yeah, I’ve got one “finished” novel that I’m now querying the bejeebus out of (ask me about South Central if you’re an agent reading this – thank you!) and half of a second novel I have half an inkling I might actually be able to sell. And yeah, a whole lot of other people have like half a million novels to their name.

But most people don’t.

Most people don’t have one.

But really, that’s kind of a snotty way to think (but let’s not kid – it does make a person feel better). Really all that matters is that I said I would write a novel and I did.

Now I’m saying I’m going to finish this second one, and I will. And I already have an idea for number three. So even if every one takes me three years from beginning to end, I’ll have spent nine years writing three more novels than 99.9% of the people I know.

And, most importantly, I’ll have spent nine years doing what I love, getting better at what I love, and sharing what I love in some form or another. That is hardly a description of wasted years.

So what are you working toward? How long have you been doing it and what are you doing to keep moving forward? Click “continue reading” to post your comments.

Becca Borawski Jenkins
Writer & Editor
Becca Borawski Jenkins is an editor, writer, and writing coach. She is currently the Managing Editor at both The Whole Life Challenge and StrongFirst. She specializes in building authority and readership through high-quality content. She also coaches private clients, does developmental editing for non-fiction book projects, and ghostwrites for a variety of story-telling projects she can’t tell you anything about (but that are super, super fun).
Published inInspiration & Quotations
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