Two days ago, I finished writing a chapter of a book that I had been working on for the past four years. Seriously. Four years! I started writing that chapter in 2014. We’re now in 2018. Four years – that is my record.
Of course I did not plan to take that long. Many things got in the way. For example, in 2014, I was just finishing university and I began law school. And law school was … a headache. Lots and lots of work. Very time-consuming. I actually lost motivation to write my novels during that time. When I write my novels, I tend to put everything into them; I give them all my time and effort. I didn’t want to have to break my creativity and have to switch to studying. So at law school, I put all my energy and effort into studying law. I had sort of an ‘all or nothing’ approach back then.
So I was very happy to be finally able to finish this chapter. It didn’t take me a full four years to write it, however. In fact, I didn’t do any work on it at all for three years. It was only in October of last year (2017) that I returned to it and wrote a few paragraphs.
Now that I am finally done with school, I decided that more than enough time had passed since I last worked on this novel and I wanted to complete this chapter. It was one of my new year’s resolutions to finish writing this book and I really did not want to have to delete this chapter and have to start a new one; it’s a very important chapter for this novel and I needed to get it done.
I had to do a lot of reviewing and rereading because after four years, I needed to remind myself of where the story was heading and if I wanted to continue it in that direction (which I did). At first it was a bit tough to get back into the story because so many years had passed since I did any major work on it. There are also many characters, lots of details and lots of action.
But as I reread and I re-familiarized myself with the characters and their backstories, it felt so exciting. I felt like I was in the story even though I’m the writer of it, which is how all my novels make me feel. Which is why I love writing fiction so much. I get immersed into it and it’s as if the story tells itself and I’m just the vessel.
So I was very happy to return to the story, to the fictional world that I had created. The character whose chapter I was working on is actually one of my favourite characters in the book. He is the underdog and I really like how his story progresses, so it was very important for me to get this chapter finished.
The reason why I am blogging about this is because it is a monumental achievement for me. It may not be that monumental to some persons but the fact is that it never took me so long to finish one task. And I am proud of myself for not giving up although it took me four years.
I just want to let this serve as an example for anyone else who may be feeling frustrated, distraught, upset that whatever goal you are trying to achieve is taking you so long to do. I just want to encourage you that no matter how long it takes, once you are dedicated and focused you can get it done. It may seem like it’s taking forever; it may be much longer than my four years. But don’t give up. Don’t give up at all. Think about how long it took some other people to get what they want. For example, think about how long it took our African ancestors to finally be able to achieve emancipation. Hundreds of years! Whatever situation you are facing, hopefully the length of time is much shorter for you.
Whatever it is do not give up. If it’s school, your job, trying to write, writing a song, doing artwork, knitting, whatever it is that you create, or whatever goal that you want to achieve, perhaps planning a trip, don’t give up. If other things get in the way, that’s life. There are always hiccups. There’s always something to try and rock your boat and throw you overboard. But when you fall overboard try and swim. Swim to shelter. Swim to a piece of board or even a new boat. Whatever happens, don’t give up. Don’t drown.
Keep at it. Have patience with yourself. You will make it.
So even if whatever you are doing may seem to be of little significance to others, ignore them, because it doesn’t really matter what they think. What matters is how important whatever you are doing is for you. Once you know that it is something important to you, again, do not give up. Keep at it. Be determined no matter how long it takes.
The race isn’t always for the swiftest. Sometimes it’s for those who persevere!
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