Every morning, I look forward to Garrison Keillor’s daily offering in his Writer’s Almanac. His five-minute musing leaves me intellectually satisfied and always a bit brighter about something. I find this morning’s offering particularly useful to me and others with an inclination to write.
This morning he tells us it’s the birthday of Khaled Hosseini, born in Kabul (1965), and author of the runaway best-selling novel The Kite Runner (2003). The background Mr. Keillor provides on Mr. Hosseini is fascinating, but it is Mr. Hosseini’s take on writing a novel that caught my unwavering attention. Khaled Hosseini said:
“There is a romantic notion to writing a novel, especially when you are starting it. You are embarking on this incredibly exciting journey, and you’re going to write your first novel, you’re going to write a book. Until you’re about 50 pages into it, and that romance wears off, and then you’re left with a very stark reality of having to write the rest of this thing. […] A lot of 50-page unfinished novels are sitting in a lot of drawers across this country. Well, what it takes at that point is discipline … You have to be more stubborn than the manuscript, and you have to punch in and punch out every day, regardless of whether it’s going well, regardless of whether it’s going badly. […] It’s largely an act of perseverance […] The story really wants to defeat you, and you just have to be more mulish than the story.”
While I write ‘something’ every day, I concede that I have no fewer than six ’50-page unfinished novels’ hiding on Word files throughout my office, some on external storage devices, some in ‘the cloud’ and some even clamoring to get out of my head.
Mr. Keillor’s reference to Mr. Hosseini’s take on unfinished novels is a timely wakeup call. Time’s a wasting. I must get back to the battle…