Looks like I might have an annual Thanksgiving message!
(I was looking at what I wrote last Thanksgiving, as National Novel Writing Month was winding down, and it felt like, with a few minor adjustments, it held up pretty well. So if today’s newsletter seems familiar, then I’m the one who should say thank you for being a longtime reader!)
If you’ve worked your way through the first three weeks of #NaNoWriMo, you’ve gained some valuable experience in creating a writing life for yourself—specifically, in giving yourself the time and space in which to do your writing. Some of you might be able to do that completely independently, but I think most of us would say that we owe a lot to the people who are supporting us in the quest to write a complete short novel in just one month. (And, of course, what I’m about to say applies to any of us engaged in a writing practice, at any time of the year.)
Some of that support is simple and intangible: Friends and loved ones who cheer us on, who are glad to see that we’re writing, maybe even eager to see what we come up with when we’re ready to share it. First and foremost, it’s important to believe in yourself, but having other people believe in you can be a powerful reinforcement.
It’s even better to have people in your life who not only believe in you, but are willing to provide some concrete help as you work on creating your writing life. Friends who understand why you might not be able to hang out with them as much as you have in the past, and are willing to schedule around you. Loved ones who are willing to take on a household chore or two if that gives you some extra writing time, who understand why you’re getting up early, or staying up late, or not joining them to watch television before going to bed at night.
That might not seem like much when I state it so baldly. But all of those gestures, and many others like them, have an accumulative effect—and if you’re actually doing the work that they’re giving you the space to do, you’ll see that for yourself.
So, this Thanksgiving, when people who know to ask you about #NaNoWriMo ask you how it’s coming along, be sure to take a moment to express how glad you are to have their support. A simple “thanks for asking” could do the trick, but if you want to be more specific about how “I couldn’t do it without you,” go for it!
Oh! Literary agent Kate McKean used her newsletter this week to talk about writing your acknowledgments. If you’re fortunate enough to become a published author, Kate’s checklist provides an excellent checklist for all the people to whom you might wish to express your gratitude.
However you choose to spend this Thursday, I hope it’s a good day for you! If you manage to squeeze in some writing time, great, but just have a good day, as best you can. (Which, now that I’m looking at it on my computer screen, is good advice for all the days that aren’t Thanksgiving, too…)