One Decade, One Big Lesson

For many people, a new year is a time for new year’s resolutions. Not so for me. I decided to be kind with myself, and simply try to do better. Be a better husband, a better father, a better person. Life present enough challenges for me as it is – not complaining – so I don’t intend on applying additional pressure on myself. I figure – if it’s important enough for me, I’d do it.

I do put my intentions out there, for myself to see which of these are important enough for me to commit to. I don’t look back at the end of year and berate myself if I haven’t. I realize that I followed different priorities.

That being said, I am happy that 2019 saw me finalize the publishing process of my novel “No Bond Too Small”. This book, being my first finished product, has a special place in my heart and I guess always will. During the work on this book, which took no less than eight years (I will share some of this journey in a future post, or ten…), I have learned so much. I answered an interesting question on Twitter the other day, about the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this decade and thought it would be nice to elaborate a little.

Before I do, let me ask a couple of questions if I may:

  • When was the last time you walked into a book store (brick & Mortar or virtual), made your way to the adult fiction section and picked up a book that was… empty?
  • When was the last time you picked up a novel, started reading and somewhere in the middle, it just… stopped?

I guess the answer is “never”?

Until early in this decade, I wrote plenty of stories. Very few of which reached the words “The End”. I guess the biggest lesson I learned in this decade was – finish what you started! No one (in their right mind) publishes an empty book, a half of a Novel or even a cool idea for a story. They publish finished stories. You may write 50 parts of 50 different stories, but guess what? If you want to publish it, and have people invest in it, you need to finish it.

I’ve learned (about myself and others) that when we start out as “aspiring” writers, we constantly think about having published a book. I’ve learned that it’s healthier to think less about this and more about authoring a story. What does that mean? It means learning how to finish a story. It requires focus on the writing, improvement of skills, commitment to the “mission”. It means completely ignoring some aspects of our dreams.

Ignore the publishing process completely – at the very least – until your first draft is done. There will be time, I promise. So much time, to think about the publishing side of it. But before you have anything ready for publishing (especially if this is your first foray), why even spend a second thinking about it? You have so much on your plate as it is. Your story needs to have all the ingredients to make it the best story you can write. So focus on that. Once you finished – then start thinking about the publishing.

By the way, I am not saying you must finish just any story. I am saying write the story you need to write and finish it. Write the story that flows, the story you’re passionate about, the story that works, the story that gets the constructive feedback you can work with (the feedback does not have to be a pat on the shoulder, it can be an honest criticism).

Commit to the story and finish it! You may decide not to publish it. I did that twice. But you will not have that option at all if you don’t write it A to Z.

I hope this helped. Now finish your story please.

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