I may not be able to meet my higher goal of having this book ready to ship by the beginning of May, as I'd projected. Simply put, I have a prevailing laziness that I allow to prevent me from putting words on the page. This is not a shortcoming.
I may not be able to emotionally or intellectually handle the material that I am working with in this book. I am examining questions and concepts that people throughout human history have failed to answer, most of these people much smarter than I. This is not a deterrent.
During a month in which many people with similar goals and aspirations as myself set out to write 50,000 words to for an, ideally, complete work, I have written just more than a tenth of that, forming a series of scenes that barely sets the scene. This is not inadequate.
In the 6,000 words I have written, I have learned as much about myself and my method of storytelling as I did during the previous eight months, and during the five years before that (working on a single separate project.) I wrote a single scene that moved me to tears more than once. I have gotten to know three characters, and have fallen in love with all three of them, all for very different reasons. I have plumbed emotional depths I never knew I was privy to, for a character's backstory that may never get mentioned in the book, but that tangibly enriches everything that character does, because it's important to him. These are not victories.
We writers are nothing more than students, all of us, learning a craft we may never master. When learning a skill - any skill - a mistake that does not lead to catastrophe is no mistake at all. Similarly, there are no failures. If a writer writes a bad book, it is no greater a failure than a racquetball player that loses a point during a game, so long as both continue in their craft, undeterred in their pursuit of ever-greater skill.
In 2012, James Patterson released 13 books, Stephen King 3, and Peter V. Brett 0. All three are phenomenal authors, and each wildly successful in their own right. These authors are all peers, all of them equals. Each of these authors put their pants on in roughly the same manner, all have their own writing practices, and we all aspire to join them as full-time authors. As equals.
Writers exist for one purpose: to entertain. We hail from a long tradition of storytellers across many different mediums - whether visual, audio, written, virtual, all exist for one goal: to tell a story. To entertain. Without an audience, a piece of writing is nothing, an intangible, and is worth exactly that, no matter how personally enriched we feel for having completed it. Unpublished work and published work differ in only one way: the published work has an audience, the story has been told.
The story has been told. No more, no less. However enriching or pointless, a published work has fulfilled its purpose, it has entertained, it has distracted the reader from their every day existence, and provided escape - even if it wasn't a pleasurable escape - from it. The writer's purpose, too, has been fulfilled, until she has another story to tell. And then another. Ideally, in pursuit of a more enriching form of escape for her audience. There are no victories in writing, only the pursuit of telling a story that will entertain... and then telling another story that, we hope, will entertain more widely and deeply than the one before.
We exist to entertain, first ourselves, and then others. Our lives are fulfilled - and fulfilling - because of each failure, and shortcoming, and deterrent, and feeling of inadequacy... and eventually each victory, because in each of these we discover new ways of telling tales, new ways of entertaining, and that is all we writers exist to do.