Saturday, 17 April 2010

Irritating Chinese Proverbs

I was moaning to a friend about the WIP, how it was taking me ages to write, how I'd had a good day but the novel didn't seem to be getting any further.
'Ah,' he said, rather smugly I thought. 'You know what they say...'
'Nope,' I replied. 'What?'
'The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.'

This was particularly irritating because I'd said it to him last year about a book he was moaning about and regretting accepting the commission for, and I have a horrible feeling I was very smug at the time too. But the really awful thing is - it's TRUE.

When we set out on a novel we don't always know where we're going, but unless we take that first step we'll never find out. And then take another step, and another. That thousand mile journey is made up of lots of little steps and if we concentrate only on the enormity of the journey we'll never have the courage to take a single step, and we certainly won't enjoy the process.

So there we have it: the 100,000 word novel is one sentence after another. And there's nothing more irritating than having your own advice quoted back to you.


Lizzie said...

It's like dieting, Sarah – well, certainly in my case. I can't let myself be put off by the amount of weight I need to lose, I've got to feel pleased that I lose a few pounds a week. And I think I'd rather write a chapter than go to the gym!

Sarah Duncan said...

Oh yes, exactly like dieting. Or putting on weight. If you eat one extra biscuit every day you put on pounds over the course of a year, as I have been demonstrating in 2009...