When it comes to creative expression, one of your worst enemies can be your inner editor, that judge-y, mean-spirited, hyper-critical jerk who starts harshing on you as soon as you sit down to create. You know the one. It’s a toxic blend of lofty expectations and distorted perceptions, and left unchecked it can perpetuate creative infanticide on all your baby ideas.
That’s why NaNoWriMo is such a great event. If you don’t know about it, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 1,000 words a day, every day, for 30 days. At the end, you’ll have a 30,000-word novel! How amazing is that? And there’s a tremendous community around your effort. Libraries invite you in to write. Independent bookstores do, too. You can meet other sweaty scribblers just like yourself in forums and support groups all over the world.
And, as if that’s not enough, amazing writers will write you pep talks! People like Jonathan Lethem and Audrey Niffenegger have already signed up to tell you how great you are for doing this, and how much everyone appreciates the fact that you’re showing up and putting in the effort.
You can even roam through the pep talk archives when you’re feeling frustrated and in need of inspiration. People like Lynda Barry (LYNDA BARRY!) and Lemony Snicket (one of my favorite bits about writing, ever, for all time) and Neil Gaiman and Dave Eggers and Peter Fucking Carey – all these people, these talented, accomplished people, will be cheering you on.
So what are you waiting for? Inspiration? Bah. The right time? Double bah! For the swelling to go down? BAH! The swelling may never go down. You may never have the right idea. And you will certainly never have the time. So why not just start?
As my sainted father always says, “There ain’t nothing to it but to do it.”
It starts in eight hours. Ready, set, WRITE!