Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Victory

Ah...the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat...

I have begun to think seriously about what I consider a 'victory' when it comes to my writing. To be perfectly honest, this writing 'journey' often feels more like a battle and not a pleasant stroll to a particular destination.

And with every battle, there are victors.

Some victories are small: I wrote 294 words today and I didn't die! Because there are days when I can sit for hours and the words are just not flowing and it is both physically and emotionally painful. These are the days I click on microsoft word count and nearly fall out of my chair when I realize I'm only at something like 294 words and those 294 words took every fiber of my being to get on the page.

Some victories are pretty big: I wrote a novel and I didn't die! I know some of you are knocking out multiple novels a year. I bow down to you. It doesn't work that way for me. I started writing seriously in October 2008 and I have 1.5 novels to show for it. Right now, I'm in the midst of my second uphill battle and the fighting is pretty bloody right now. But since I did it once and I didn't die, I figure this will have a similar outcome. I guess the big concern now is how many psychological wounds I'll come out with in the end.

For me, there are some victories that still need to be won. I want to see a book I wrote sitting on a real or virtual shelf somewhere actual people shop. I don't want Tyler or my poor critique partners and beta readers to be my only readers (though I bow down to you as well and thank you from the bottom of my heart.)

The big question is, which victories are enough? Is it enough to say: today I wrote 500 words? Or: this year I wrote a novel?

I really, really want these victories to be enough but lately they feel like nothing at all. In my head, I know it is NOT nothing. But in my heart, it feels like the battle has not been won.

What do you consider a victory in your writing life?


  1. I have the same problem as you. I often look at what I have written and think it's not enough. I think just writing something towards your novel, no matter how small, should be considered a victory. Also having the patience and drive to finish a novel is a big victory, because writing requires a huge amount of both.

    Great Post!

  2. Victory is keeping the story alive within myself. How long it takes isn't as important as knowing I still have it. As long as I get ANYTHING down on paper, that's victory.

  3. I think you have to look at each step you take as a victory. Everytime you make a contact that can impact your writing career it's a victory. When you meet a new critique partner or beta reader, it's a victory. When you have any publication of positive feedback, it's a victory. When you get credible feedback and you realize that that input will make your ms stronger and you are excited to impliment it, it's a victory. As long as you are moving forward towards your dream...it's a victory.

  4. Melissa, I could have written this post. I feel the same way so much of the time. But Sharon is right. Each step is a victory. And perhaps try not thinking of it as a battle at all, even though it feels like one. I am working on understanding that some days, the words are meant to flow and other days I'm meant to do other things - perhaps re-energize or experience something I need in order to know what's next in the book.
    Good luck,

  5. i posted something on my facebook wall that mentioned my WIP, and one of my friend's said how proud they are that I'm continuing to edit and haven't given up. Even though I don't work on it everyday, I've made a lot of progress and needed to give myself credit for it. Sometimes it takes an unsolicited comment like that to solidify that yes, we can celebrate a victory, even if it's a small one!

  6. Hmmm. I think it was a small victory that two agents requested my first novel (one partial, one full), even though both eventually passed. At least I got that far, you know?

    When I'm motivated to write, that's a victory, mostly because lately, I haven't written a thing and just don't feel like it, probably because there are so few victories in writing sometimes- because the main victory, being published, is just so damn elusive. It's hard to keep working toward something that has absolutely no guarantee of ever happening, EVER.

    Man, I'm a downer! Blah. LOL

  7. Victory cannot be measured in words alone. Victory is measured when your mind reaches farther than it had the day before, making your planning easier. Such a great word.

  8. Any words I get down is a SOLID victory, Melissa. Some days are better than others. But the REAL victory will be that publishing deal. Yanno?

    Celebrate the small victories, girlfriend.