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on the power of showing up

note: I wrote this post in April of 2019 (pre-COVID). It's been sitting in my drafts for quite a while, but I think it's time for it to see the light of day. It's been helpful for me to reread over the past few months, especially as I continue to try to make an effort to write, and I hope it can be helpful to you, too. i got an invite to a writers' group a few months ago, and i had never felt like more of a fraud in my life. it had been months, if not years, since i'd felt like a writer. the proverbial well of words in my heart had dried up, it seemed, and i wasn't sure if it was ever coming back. i agreed to go out of a sense of helplessness—i'd identified as a writer ever since i could remember. if i'm not a writer, who am i?  i told myself that it was important to show up and act like a writer even when i didn't feel like one, because even though i hadn't been writing, i reassured myself, i still was a writer. but sometimes the words f

NaNoWriMo: Are You Freaking Out Yet?

Every morning this week I've been greeted by a slew of posts about NaNoWriMo on my dashboard. It's thrilling, to be sure.

This is NaNoWriMo, people. It's happening in 7 days.

Seven days?!

I must be crazy.

Oh wait, NaNo is made of crazy.

I actually started doubting my sanity a couple days ago. Really doubting my sanity. Can I handle NaNo? Am I crazy for doing this?

Okay, yes, I am crazy. We've already established that.

Anyway, I'm starting to feel the pre-November crunch. You know... that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize just what you've gotten yourself into.

What have I gotten myself into, indeed?

I want to do NaNo. I really do. I think it'll be good for me. But those feelings of inadequacy are almost too much.

What if my novel stinks?
{It probably will.}
But I want it to be a good first draft!
{There is no such thing as a good first draft.}
I want my writing to be perfect! 
{Silly. Your writing won't be perfect, and neither will you.}

It's the endless struggle of a writer: Inadequacy. Our words aren't good enough... we aren't good enough.

Oh, but we are.

We have to believe it. What we write is worth something. To us. To the world. To God. We're not worthless... and neither are our words.

I want to do NaNo because I need to get over this inadequacy. Writing is not about being perfect, it's about writing. We can strive and strive to make our words perfect the first time around, but in the end, we won't finish what we start. Believe me - I know.  The only time I've finished a novel is when I let go of my expectations and decided to write it all down. Everything. No self-censoring. No editing allowed. Just writing, pure and simple.

Yes, there is a certain amount of planning we must do. But I've found that when I plan too much, all the fun will drain right out of it. Then again, if I don't plan at all, then my novel is more disaster-prone. I'm discovering something, though: there are no right or wrong answers. We must write the way we have to write. It's a balance; a limbo of words, planning and editing, painting our souls and telling our tales.

The writing journey can't be described. It's different for each person. So I'm trying to remember this: Write the way that works for me. The most important thing about writing is this:


After all, that's why we're called writers, isn't it?

{P.S. - I have a couple blog posts in mind that don't have anything to do with NaNoWriMo... so stay tuned.}


  1. yup! i am entirely spazzing out about NaNo. but you can read all my ramblings on my writers blog.

    honestly, it's my third year, and i'm still nervous. it's always nerve-wracking.


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