Counterexamples and excuses together make hay

Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. Searching for an attribution, the Internet gives me: “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well,” by Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. Alright then. I’m not entirely sure I agree — just because something needs to get done doesn’t necessarily mean all the stops need to get pulled out, but I like the sentiment behind it. If you’re doing it, don’t hold back. If you’re making the effort, put the effort in. Don’t do it in such a way that it’s just going to have to be redone in a month. If you’re doing it, be proud of your work.

So there’s a flip side to that too, and that’s that it’s ok to decide a thing is not worth doing. Coming out of this magazine writing continuing education class I just took, for example, I don’t think I’m going to follow through on the “next steps” that we took away from the class; I’m not going to finish crafting my query and send it out to a selection of magazines and continue researching new stories. I’m going to take away a lot that I learned about writing for the public and apply it to this blog — don’t get me wrong, I got a lot out of that class, but I don’t think there are enough hours in the day for me to try to get published in magazines on top of everything else. But I am so, so very glad I took the class.

I think this is going to be the first year since 2008 that I’m really proud of my NaNoWriMo novel, and even see a future for it. I’m thinking of signing up again for a writer’s conference in February that I went to back in 2011, actually, with a mind to take their “novel track” and bring this novel in to work on. It would be a good deadline to focus my efforts in the months after November wraps up, if I do decide that I want to shape this novel into something presentable. But there’s also some discouragement. I’ve been having a hard time getting into writing mode the last couple days, so my wordcount hasn’t been ticking upwards much as I would like. Hopefully I can use Friday and Sunday to really crank out words. This writing needs to get done; there are only so many days left in the month.

When is giving up okay, and when is it something to be pushed back against? Anything worth doing, is worth putting your full effort in. Don’t give up. There are legitimate reasons to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, especially when you’re doing something really difficult. But those aren’t reasons to give up, they’re reasons to redouble your efforts.


Can’t give up midway through a walk!

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