Yesterday morning, I set out on a quest for tea. I left my desk and headed for the drink section of my workplace with my spirits high. I had no idea of the perils that lay ahead of me.
It all began when I spotted the single packet of my favorite kind of tea – peppermint. I grabbed a styrofoam cup and tore open the packet, pulling it out by the string. That was the moment when the string snapped.
Whatever. I don’t mind the bag sitting in the tea.
I poured the steaming water into the cup and grabbed a coffee stirrer. Placing my stick in the liquid, I pushed against the bag to help release the flavor. That was the moment when the bag broke, and hundreds of tiny tea leaves escaped into the water.
I had a meeting in five minutes; while it was a setback, I had no time to prepare another cup.
I grabbed a lid and gave it a gentle push to secure it. That was the moment when the styrofoam split, sending the water and leaves across the table.
After the mess was cleaned, I quickly prepared a cup of green tea and headed to my meeting. Then, last night, I bought my own box of peppermint tea.
That succession of events was the perfect kind of bad luck. Had I watched that unfold in a movie, I would have laughed so hard in the theatre. But no; it happened to me, which of course made it mortifying.
And then I thought about how those unfortunate events could be an analogy for my writing.
I’m struggling to gather the motivation to finish my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel. I hit the word count, so why should I continue? The plot is not complete, but it’s not like it will ever get published, right? It will be a while before it’s finished, so why should I care?
After thinking about my experience trying to make tea, I realized that my NaNo novel is like that peppermint tea. The string might break off my word count, the bag might break my plot leaves, and the cup might spill the contents everywhere. But I need to create my own solution. I can make that second cup of tea, i.e. finish that first draft, and worry about the final draft later, when I have the means to buy an entire box of tea.
I need to pick up that draft again. Even if it never sees the light of day beyond my computer screen, I will not give up on my draft, like I refused to give up on my tea.