* If you would be a reader, read; a writer, write. ~ Epictetus AD 55-c.135
I am well into my Nano novel—although realistically, not quite as well into it as I should be considering the date on the calendar. However, “winning” (making it to the 50K marker by midnight on November 30) is still well within my grasp (and grasp it I will, if I have to pull two all nighters in a row). Month up or not, word count beaten or not, I can already elaborate on the primary value of Nanowrimo for me. Wonderfully, it’s not some obscure, limited-to-one-month-per-year benefit, available only to the select few who can fit Nano’s intensity into their calendar. No. It’s immediately transferable and tangible help to anyone who will just adopt Nanowrimo’s primary focus, goal, raison d’etre: Write daily, accumulate words, beat the monster who whispers ugly nothings in your ear.
Whenever I’m working on fiction regularly (so not just in November), I find that my self-confidence as a writer soars. It’s not that I think I’m writing such great stuff (quite the opposite usually). It’s that showing up to write every day tosses my worst fear to the ground and stomps on it. I’m always afraid that maybe I’m not a “real” writer (whatever that is), and that I’ll never make it (whatever that means!). Somehow all past finished works fade from my memory when I stay too long away from my computer; I think they’re flukes, flash-in-the-pans, all she wrote. When I’m writing close to daily though, it’s another thing entirely. I’m a writer because I write. Everything my nasty inner beast can throw at me is quieted.
“Shhhhh, I’m writing here, show some respect,” I say.
“Oh no,” screams the beast. “She is.”
“A writer writes, so by definition….”
The beast can take no more. It slinks away, and for today—because I write—it’s vanquished. It will be back. I will write it away again and again, as often as it takes. And if it beats me for a few days? No matter. I write frequently. I accumulate words. I will run it through with the sword of my pen when I take up the battle again, which for today, is now.
*I always find this quote motivating. Some interpret it as, “Don’t read if you’re a writer, just write,” but I think of the words as expanding, not limiting. If you would be anything, an artist, a musician, a writer, a runner, a chef…. Paint! Play! Write! Run! Cook! Do the things you feel you must, live those lives, not at the expense of all the other things you are and do, but in addition to them, adding depth and layers of enjoyment and passion to your every day.