May 4, 2013

Do or do not. There is no try.

In case you didn't know, the title of the post comes from a quote in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke Skywalker doubts his abilities and wants to give up. Luke says he'll try, and Yoda tells him, "Do or do not. There is no try." You either see a task to completion or don't bother attempting it. Don't say you'll do something but then give half of your effort.

What does that have to do with me? Other than being a big fan of the Star Wars movies (well, episodes 4 through 6 anyway), the quote reminds me of when I tell someone that I've published a novel. Many times, right after "Congratulations" or "Good for you", I hear about how they've always wanted to write a novel too. Maybe they've even started one at some point but never finished. There are a lot of people whose bucket list includes "Write a novel." However, I bet that less than 1% of people who consider writing a novel actually finish one.

If you're among the 99%+, I'm here to tell you that it's not as hard as it seems if you put your mind to it. Before I wrote my first novel, George and the Galactic Games, the idea for it bounced around in my head for years. I already had scenes imagined long before I put them on paper. The difference between it continuing to live just in my imagination and the book being published for the world to read was that I decided in the beginning of 2011 that I was going to write it that year, come hell  or high water. I made time for it. Whenever I had some free time that I would have otherwise devoted to TV, for example, I'd work on George and the Galactic Games. It took many months to complete a novel that was barely more than 50,000 words long, but I had finally done it.

With one book under my belt, I then knew I had it in me to write a novel. My second novel, In the Hands of Children, was easier to write, and Beyond New Eden was easier still. Now writing is part of my weekly routine. My family is used to seeing me carrying a notebook around and scribbling furiously in it whenever I have a free moment.

As with many things in life, if you want to accomplish something like writing a novel, it takes more than just saying you'll try. If you want to do it, then do it.Yoda was right.

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