A December Pep Talk

November knocked my socks off.

I had every intention of participating in NaNoWriMo. I had a manuscript outlined. I even had the daily hours I would write scheduled.

But then the month began. And wow.  Between sickness and sudden school responsibilities, kids’ early-home days, hosting birthday parties, doctor (and hospital) visits, and church activities I was in charge of, November may have been busier than the rest of the year put together.

A week into the month, I realized NaNoWriMo wasn’t going to happen for me this year. By mid-November, my writer-self felt extremely discouraged. And then I did something you should never do in such a state of mind: I looked at other people’s blogs, stumbling upon others’ success stories, which made me feel even more discouraged with a side-order of passive-aggressive Ugh, why can’t I get things done like other people? frustration.

So I stepped back and reminded myself of a few things I’ve learned and relearned about writing [incidentally these are also things I’ve learned about life]:

1. I need to enjoy the writing process.  Sometimes I’m so anxious for the end result of my work, I forget that the journey and discovery is fun.

2. I need to get rid of distractions. I have to get off the internet when I’m writing. I’ve noticed I am sometimes more productive with a pen and notepad (!) even though I type much faster than I write.  Truly, my email does not need to be checked every ten minutes.

3. I am not in competition with anyone else. One of the things I love about the writing community is that it’s so supportive. We want each other to succeed [ex: look at us giving each other free advice!]. The more someone reads, the more they want to read. If my son loves Harry Potter and finishes the series, he’s eager to have something else to fill the void (next up: Gregor the Overlander and The False Prince). The more books he loves, the more he wants to read, and the more I scramble to find him books that are worth his time. I want my children to be exposed to a plethora of good books of all different genres. More people writing and publishing means more good stories to choose from, so we can keep enjoying and learning.

There you have it, a December pep talk to myself (and to you. Happy Christmas ☺). I still have my NaNoWriMo outline.

Who says I can’t be a month late?

Emily Manwaring spent her childhood in Wales, her adolescence in Utah and the time since in England and New Hampshire respectively. She has a degree in English Literature from BYU and currently lives in Northern Utah with her husband and children.  She likes to sleep [mostly she just misses it], read, and write [this makes her sound very lazy].  She is currently working on a picture book series.

2 thoughts on “A December Pep Talk

  1. Very true! As a naturally competitive person, I sometimes struggle with that mindset and have to remind myself not to be envious of other writers' successes. It's easy to let the green monster take over, but it's just as you said: in reality, we're all in this together! We're all contributing beautiful words to the world and bringing stories to life. The writing community truly is one of the most supportive and encouraging communities I've ever personally been a part of.

    P.S. I've read Gregor the Overlander and it's awesome. Your son's going to love it. =)


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