Less is Finally More

IMG_2988.JPGI used to feel defeated when I couldn’t write a novel that was more than 150 pages.
In fact, to me, that wasn’t a novel.
So imagine my surprise when today I reach 200 pages!
The feeling was freeing. I had beaten my own record.
And then…I checked the word count.
43k and some change. Not a full 50k, which, according to NaNoWriMo standards, is a real novel.
Defeat started to creep in. Add on to that, I’m having trouble finding a literary agent.
Add on to that, I’m 20, and a broke college student.
Soon, the idea of a published novel felt further and further away.
Because who is going to read just 200 fucking pages?
No one.
I ambled along the book table at my local BJs, seeing all these books and wondering if I’d ever get there.
I tried to give myself a pep talk.
(And failed.)
It was right then that I stumbled upon Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End of The Lane.
I grabbed it, expecting it to be thick, at least 300 pages.
Imagine my shock when I picked up a fairly thin book!
I checked the page number: 175.
That’s it.
Just one hundred seventy five pages. Neil bloody Gaiman. 175.
A new hope surged over me because I realised: at one point, Neil Gaiman could only write 150, or 175 pages. At one point, that’s all he could write and he thought it all sucked.
At one point, Stephen King probably wrote shit drafts that never saw the light of day. At one point he probably didn’t write 500 page books all the time.
And even now, sometimes, for these incredible authors, less is more.
Less is enough.
So perhaps right now I can’t write much more than 200 pages, or even less. And perhaps I do write some shitty first drafts.
But I also write beautiful first lines and gorgeous long paragraphs. I write things that make me stop and read back over them in awe.
Often, I surprise myself.
And so, today at a book table, I regained hope that one day it’ll be my name, my book, my 200 pages or whatever PERFECT amount, on a table, a shelf.
One day it’ll be me, because we all started out as less.
And that is often more than enough.

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4 thoughts on “Less is Finally More

    • Thank you so much! Seriously, that means a lot to me. And the idea really was profound, or at least was one that I just had not thought about. You get so used to seeing prolific authors publishing massive books that are at least 400 pages or more. Especially the two I listed, King and Gaiman! But if they can honour the simple fact that great words, no matter how many, can transmit a great story, then I can, too.

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