Fear or Friend

“Sometimes if you haven’t touched your laptop in a while, you begin to fear it. You’re afraid to start typing and you’re afraid not to start typing. Writing becomes a stranger—and without realizing it, you’ve closed the door on your closest friend, your imagination. You’ve got to honor your imagination, for it is your ally.”

Perhaps my favorite part of NaNoWriMo was the pep talks they emailed participants throughout the month, and this one, by Holly McGhee, was one of many that struck a chord with me. As it is December 1st, NaNo is now over, and I will proudly admit that I have failed miserably. I did not even come close to reaching 50,000 words. (Who decided November was a good month for this? Couldn’t it have been January when no one has anything to do except complain about the weather?)

But I think the only thing I regret is that toward the end, I knew I wasn’t going to achieve even half the goal, so I simply stopped trying. There were holidays to prepare for, a business to run, and why bother if it was physically impossible for me to make the word count by the 30th?

This is a problem that I, and my writing friends, have had over and over. Sometimes we get bursts of inspiration, and then sometimes we haven’t touched our laptops in so long that even opening our Word docs seems an intensely daunting task. We hate the idea of tying ourselves to chair to force the words out, but we hate ourselves for not doing this as well. Sometimes writing does become a stranger, and to put it simply, this makes me sad.

The good news is that it’s never too late to go back and reintroduce yourself. Your story is always there waiting patiently for you to continue. And with that in mind, and knowing the holiday madness that awaits in December, my new goal for the next 30 days is to see my story as a friend I can’t wait to catch up with whenever I have a few free moments, rather than that call I need to make to my mother. I am determined to fear it less.

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