If you’re taking part in this year’s National Novel Writing Month, congratulations: You’ve nearly hit the one-third mark! Are you enjoying yourself? You should be.
Oh, I’m not saying writing can’t be difficult or stressful. It can absolutely be both of those things, especially when you’re on deadline, and I’ve already talked a few times this month about the eternally recurring challenge of making time in your life to write. Even when you do make time for the writing, you might find yourself struggling to get the words out in a form that satisfies you… or to get them out at all.
And yet! When you’re writing, when you’re fully engaged in the process of writing, you’re learning how to express yourself. More than that: You’re learning how to connect with one of the truest possible expressions of yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing fiction that doesn’t have anything to do with your life—it comes from you, it’s about something that you find so compelling that you’ve set aside all the other things you could be doing with your life to draw it out and share it with the rest of the world.
What could be more fun than finding the most complete expression of yourself, and then living it out? Obviously, I don’t mean living out the plot of your novel; I mean living a life organized around expressing yourself fully and honestly. Sure, individual days might be tough. It’s like being a musician, though: When you’re learning to play a new piece, there will always be the days when you struggle to find your way through the music—but the longer you allow yourself to explore the terrain, the more comfortable you feel, until it begins to feel natural.
If you believe you were meant to be a writer, #NaNoWriMo is a great way to put that to the test. Personally, I don’t think anyone is meant to be a writer; I prefer to believe that anyone can be a writer if they’re ready to put in the work—and #NaNoWriMo is a great way to put yourself to that test, too. When you put in that work, and it brings you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment just to be doing that work, let alone getting an agent or finding a publisher or any of that stuff that could happen, and you decide to organize your life around cultivating that sense of fulfillment… well, I think you might find that one month isn’t going to be enough.
If you’re reading this in your inbox, you can probably skip this paragraph—but if you’re reading it on the web, did you know you could be reading it in your inbox? Along with every other installment of the newsletter? For just $5/month? Well, okay, you’re not going to be getting a new email every weekday—that’s unique to #NaNoWriMo—but three emails a month (and they’re usually even longer than this, because I have all that extra time to write them). Or you could sign up for the freebie version, and receive one email at the end of the month. It’s still a very good email—it’s the same one the paying subscribers get—but it’s the only one you’ll get all month, and you’ll start to wonder what you’re missing out on in those other two emails, and why not just skip that step and go straight for the premium subscription, right?
Obviously, you don’t have to decide now. If you’ve just started reading “Destroy Your Safe and Happy Lives” for #NaNoWriMo, I hope you’ll keep reading through the rest of November… and we can see how you feel then! If you’re ready to push the button, though, here it is…