Posted by on Oct 29, 2018 in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), On Writing: Craft and Commiseration | 0 comments

NaNoWriMo and Writing When the World is On Fire

What a month, huh? Trying to think about writing with current events being what they are feels exactly like this GIF.

And, at times like this, it’s hard not to wonder what the point even is? When the world is a screaming vortex of bad and even tomorrow doesn’t feel like a guarantee, you start to wonder why are you doing something as frivolous as writing? On those days when it feels like everyone is ambivalent to your whole existence, how can you make yourself believe they would care about what you have to say? No one will ever read this, no one will ever care if you write today or not and so what is the point of wasting this time on writing when you could be doing literally anything else?

And I have been there, my friend. I have sat in that dark dungeon of my own head and felt the squirm of looking at your own goals square on in the harsh light of reality. I have felt foolish for trying, silly for dreaming. I have wondered what the point of any of it was.

But the reason I am here writing to you right now on the cusp of NaNoWriMo, a month that could well be the stage of the greatest writing triumph of your life, is because I know the answer to who would care if I stopped writing tomorrow.

I would care.

Why do you write?

You write because you want to.

You write because you need to.

You write because words pave the journey to a better world by showing that it doesn’t have to be this way.

You write to share that better world with everyone just like you who needs it, who wants it.

You write to teach a lesson, to expose an evil, to change hearts and minds in a way no Facebook argument ever could. Because stories creep inside the reader’s mind and live there for a while, the best ones forever. In that they are more powerful a weapon against the darkness than anything else we could wield. They are the medicine the world needs to heal coated in the peanut butter of fiction to make it go down easier.

You write your resistance.

You write your rebellion.

Your write powerful words and the fools who think art is worthless won’t realize what you’ve done and the seeds you’ve sown until those words topple mountains.

Or you write because you know you can make your readers smile or laugh or gasp or fall in love or cry one of those good cries, the kind you need just to wash everything away and let you face the next day fresh. You write to give others a distract, to give yourself an escape, and that portal magic is needed and necessary in time like these.

You write because you know there is someone out there who needs to hear what you have to say.

You write because there’s a story you want to read and you’re the only person who can write it.

You write for yourself alone, from quiet words to rants of fire that are easier on the page than they are in the real world. Characters that live out the dreams the real world has denied you.

And, in the end, you write because it’s spitting in the face of your own mortality. When we write, we spin bits of ourselves off into forever, a legacy that will travel farther and last longer than our mere bodies ever could. We amplify our voice, our power and achieve immortality by pouring our souls out onto the page.

Does anyone care if you write this story? Does anyone care what you have to say?

I do.

And so do you or you wouldn’t have started this journey in the first place.

It is not foolish or frivolous or a waste of time to write right now. This is worth doing. Your story is worth telling no matter what happens tomorrow.

And you, who are stronger and more powerful than you give yourself credit for, can do this. Yes, even with everything else going on. Yes, even though you’ve never really pulled it off before, not really, and under easier circumstances.

I believe in you. And, deep down, I know you do too or you wouldn’t have signed on for the challenge in the first place. The secret is to take it one word at a time, one foot after the other, and before you know it, you’ll have traveled farther than you ever thought possible.

And you’re not alone. There are so many of us who walk this same path, word warriors fiddling with fiction while the world burns around us, each one of us pushing against the crushing heat and trying to write the shower that douses it all.

So do the thing.

Do the thing even when it feels pointless and foolish and silly.

Do the thing because the thing is worth doing for you and the rest of this broken world.

Do the thing because you can do it, you will do it, and you will surprise yourself with what you are capable of.

And that will make you that much more ready to face whatever comes next.

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