Recently I read Stephen King’s autobiography On Writing and I’ve come to an important conclusion: When I grow up I want to be like Stephen King. I should clarify. It’s not because I want to write about demon clowns or other scary stuff that makes you fall asleep with the light on. I don’t want to do that. That’s not my thing. First off, I’ve never been to Maine, and secondly, the story It has forever ruined the circus for me. (Thanks for that, Mr. King.) What I do want, however, is his work ethic. King knows how to churn it out. Book after book. Year after year. For King, success is finishing one project and getting started on the next. He knows how to keep on running.
I’m slowly learning there is a monumental difference between the professional and the amateur. Take sports for example. The amateur athlete hasn’t been tested yet. He is still raw and inexperienced. He hasn’t discovered his drive or will. Practices are held when he feels like it. Often times, instant gratification trumps dedication to his craft. His level of commitment is shallow. The professional, on the other hand, is time-tested and refined. He’s been to battle. He knows you reap what you sow. Practice isn’t based on feeling or even desire. Rather, he is at it everyday, rain or shine. Come hell or high water. The professional knows what’s at stake. His level of commitment is deep.
I recently finished a month long writing challenge called the National Novel Writing Month. It was thirty days of writing with the goal of achieving 50,000 words by the 30th. I finished this morning with 109 pages, 50, 706 words, and 1, 132 paragraphs to show for it. Thirty days ago, the prospect of writing 50,000 words in a month was, to say the least, a daunting task. In fact, I tried to lessen the difficulty by claiming I’d pursue 40,000 instead. Little by little, though, I stuck to it and finished. The challenge itself has taught me not only about writing but also about discipline, pursuing your dreams, and the power of story. I thought I’d share a few insights I gleaned from the challenge.
It’s an incredible feeling to know that the ‘end’ is in sight. Often times I go jogging from my house to a little park about a mile away. My house is sandwiched between two streets, one of them leading to main road. On my run back home, I turn on my street and have a straight shot until I reach my doorstep. It’s my favorite part of the run because I can see my goal in the near future and all I have to do is stay the course.