Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), On Writing: Craft and Commiseration | 0 comments

I had a pep talk all ready for this week that was your standard NaNoWriMo stuff but I scrapped it because we’ve had anything but a standard NaNoWriMo this year and it’s silly to ignore the elephant in the room. (Pun intended.)

How can I be all “Rah rah, writing!” when we’ve just had an election that threw the entire nation in turmoil? Many people are in a state close to grieving while others are living in fear and uncertainty for the future. It’s more than just distracting, it can be all-consuming, and getting the motivation to work on your novel is hard when your book feels like such a small thing in the face of a world gone mad.

But here’s the thing, my friends…



 No matter how powerless you feel, never forgot: The pen is mighty.

I’m not going to pump you full of useless platitudes about the future. I have no idea what it will bring either. But I do know this.

Words have power. More than that, stories have their own unique magic, the ability to worm their way into the hearts of the people who read them where they can change minds.  Stories can touch people, giving them insight and empathy for your perspective in a way no impassioned Facebook post ever could.

Stories can change the world. 

The very act of writing itself is a catharsis, a way to release the storm of thoughts in your head onto the page where you can analyse them from a safe distance and not let them consume you.

Writing is a form of therapy. 

Sometimes working through your real life fears in the world of your story is one of the best ways to untangle a mind knotted with worry. I’ve found that the more heavily I let my real life fury, confusion and fear spill into my fictional world, the better the story is for it. Raw emotion is powerful and it becomes even more so when you unleash it on the page where you can control it.

You don’t feel like writing right now. I get you. I haven’t felt like writing at all since Tuesday. But I’ve been writing anyway because the act of writing is at once an escape and a confrontation. It’s a way to release myself of the burden of the real world and hide in a world of my imagination. It’s a way to play act my worst fears on the page and confront them there, in a literary laboratory setting. It’s weapon, a way for me to get my words into someone else’s head and actually get them to listen and understand at last.

And, most of all, I keep writing because I have a story to tell, damn it, and the world needs it. And you do too.

No one can tell your story but you. So pick up your pen back up. Keep moving forward.

Working on your novel may feel like just another thing on your list that you can’t face right now but, sometimes, it’s the very thing you need the most.