Giving In Versus Giving Up

Yesterday, after struggling through two hundred horrible words in my execrable NaNoWriMo effort, I gave in. But I did not give up.

I stopped trying to fight my way through a book that wasn't holding my interest or engaging my imagination. I stopped putting down words for the sake of a counter or a sense of accomplishment.

Instead, I listened to what my heart wanted, what my writing brain was yelling at me about. There is a manuscript I worked on for much of October, which only needed a couple of scenes and a bit of polishing before it was finished.

I opened the file.

I went back to the beginning, and edited through. When I came to a scene I'd skipped writing, I wrote it. Before I knew it, I was editing all the way up to the point I'd left off, and new words were appearing like magic between my fingertips.

Writing was fun again. It was still work, but it was work I would not be ashamed to tell people about, work I could encourage people to read with an easy conscience because it was the best I knew how to do.

The relief this brought me was oceanic.

Maybe the Nano novel will work better this afternoon. Maybe it could benefit from a day off. Maybe it is doomed to become a member of the Island of Misfit Books. But I have no regrets for how I spent my day.

Sometimes giving in is not the same as giving up.

A book lies open on a table. Pages from the book rise up to take the form of a gigantic octopus, with a three-masted ship in one menacing tentacle.