On Courage and NaNoWriMo

I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year because (1) I am too busy and (2) I needed a rest from writing 50,000 words every year since 2005 (count that: that’s almost 400,000 words for the last eight years. 433,000, if you count my 2004). So now I’m not the region’s Municipal Liaison, and I found there’s something different with not doing NaNoWriMo for November after almost a decade (!!!) of doing so.

But that’s not to say I won’t support this wonderful group of writers. So I wrote a pep talk for them this year. I wrote a lot more pep talks in the previous years, but this is the first time I’m writing outside of being an ML.

And as with everything in the past year…I wrote about courage, of course. :)

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I started 2013 with a word. I started this word thing in 2012, really, but my word for 2013 came to me before 2013 actually rolled around. So it feels like it was an extra-special word because it found me.

My word for 2013 was COURAGE.

It became a catchphrase that my friends use for me: The Year of the Brave. In a lot of ways, 2013 has been that kind of year for me — a brave year. It’s hardly ever easy, because courage is never easy. Just some of the brave things I decided to do this year: travel alone, seek a mentor, read books I never thought I’d read, have difficult conversations and write a novel.

Oh, I’ve been writing a novel since 2004, the year I joined NaNoWriMo. But this year, I decided to really buckle down and finish something I started, because I’ve been having 30 days of literary abandon for years only to end up abandoning the thing I wrote soon after I reach 50k. So th is year, instead of doing NaNo, I decided that I will try to be brave and actually finish that darn story, and actually send it out to the world. (Wish me luck on this, I’m almost done revising!)

I digress, and I will stop talking about that, and go back to NaNoWriMo.

When I first joined NaNoWriMo, I had no idea what 50k really meant, in terms of writing everyday and all that. It wasn’t 100k, anyway, so I figure, why not. And then I failed miserably and I didn’t think I’d do it again, but I came back in 2005, ready to get to that 50k because I wanted it. I kept coming back, because it was fun, even if sometimes I had no idea what I was really doing.

My real point is this (because I’m actually quite rusty in writing pep talks now, really, so excuse me :D): whether it’s your first time to join NaNoWriMo or the nth time, I hope you believe that this is a very courageous thing to do. 50,000 words may not seem a lot, but sometime later this month you will probably wonder why you decided to join this in the first place. Or why you decided to join again. You will hit wall upon wall, you will get busy with work or school, and every little thing will distract you from writing your novel. It will be one heck of a crazy ride for November, and one of the key things for you to get to that finish line is to be brave.

It’s probably not the kind of courage that you see with warriors in a battle, but it’s still courage. I believe that deciding to write that novel, taking on that challenge and finding out where your stories and your characters will take you is a brave thing, and I hope you hold on to that for the whole of November. You are a brave writer, and I hope NaNoWriMo helps you become that brave person you are made to be. :)

And if you hit a wall, or many walls, or if you feel like throwing in the towel, I will give you one more advice that has helped me in the first ten months of the 2013: take it one brave step at a time. One word, one page, one day at a time, my dear writers. :) You’ll get there, and it will be a sweet, sweet victory.

And I will be one of the loudest to cheer as you cross that finish line.

Here’s to you, and all the wonderful brave things you will write this month,

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