This month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in which participants around the world commit to writing 50,000 words during the month of November. The idea is to throw your ideas on the page and get a manuscript you can work with. It’s brilliant because you don’t sweat the style of the prose, the little plot holes – you leave them behind, and you just pound out 50,000 words. In my first year I knocked out the first 50,000 words of a book that would top 100,000. That book, working title The Golden Parachute, went through a couple of massive renovations until I decided that the book was like an ex-girlfriend… It was a good story, a great learning experience, and best left behind for something better. Last year I missed the 50,000 word goal because I spent the last week of November turning 40 in a house on Newport Beach. But the 35,000 words I wrote were the start of The Grandfather Clock. This book will be out before I turn 41 later this month.
My Word Count this month is ZERO
So this year I signed up for NaNoWriMo and in five days I’ve written 0 words. Not one. I’m 25,000 words into the sequel to The Grandfather Clock, but this month is about EDITING. I need to edit 50,000 so that my friends will stop asking where the damned book is. Which brings me to the topic of this blog-post.
From an early age we hear the term Writer’s Block. It’s a writer’s mysterious inability to think of anything to write. It’s an excuse for being a writer but not writing anything. I’m not saying they are lying. What I am saying is that if you are a writer, you should write even if you have “writer’s block”. In my day job, I definitely get those periods of time when the sales just don’t seem to fall my way. We joke that in these selling doldrums we get this stench that the customer can smell from a mile away. We could have the perfect product, the best price, and the best sales call, but the buyer won’t budge. Like a single guy whose pheromone is “desperation.”
In sales, you keep selling. Eventually your luck will turn. For me, I’m busiest when the deals aren’t coming my way. I might even get a little discouraged. Then suddenly things start landing in my lap. I’ve actually walked in to potential accounts with the decided intent NOT to sell – almost like I’m there to tell them that they CAN’T have my product – and I’ve closed the deal.
It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a writer, or you aren’t in sales. We all get Worker’s Block. We have periods of time where you look at clock at the end of the day and say, “I didn’t get anything accomplished today.” During these periods I try to start each day with a list of 5 things I want to get done. Then I try to get them ALL done first. The rest of the day is smooth sailing. Right now, I’m in one of those lulls in my day job. I’ve got a couple dozen good prospects in the hopper, I’m doing everything right, but nothing is closing. I just had my best month ever, but it seems there’s nothing new on the horizon. Tomorrow I’ve got a full day, including a couple of “closes” that I’d like to make. I’m going to go in with the confidence not to care. Next week, I’ll let you know if I land any.
Thanks for reading! Sign up for updates on the left. Feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Grandfather Clock will be out in time for holiday shopping. Plan on putting one on every Kindle and in every stocking.