So the first week of NaNoWriMo is complete. If you don’t know what this is, it’s “National Novel Writing Month,” a wonderful community effort to encourage writers to put down a complete fifty-thousand-word novel in a single month—November. If you’re participating, one of the perks of writing with community is the encouragement you’ll get from other writers.
When the romantic notions of being a writer wear off and all that’s left behind is self-doubt, a lonely room, a totally empty bag of potato chips, and a blank page (or a trashcan full of crumpled paper balls), it becomes clear that most of us writers need plenty of encouragement to keep us going. NaNoWriMo is one great place to get it. I’m fortunate to have a family, a group of close friends, and professional colleagues who support my work and seem to have a bottomless supply of rah-rahs to keep me fueled.
Once during a down spell I complained to my friend and co-author Ted Dekker that I felt like an illegitimate writer. He said, “Don’t be selfish. Don’t withhold your stories because you don’t think they’re good enough for the world. Everyone suffers the same. It’s the author’s job to process the suffering and make sense of it on behalf of others.”
Don’t be selfish. A kick in the pants and a great motivational word rolled into one. I value this kind of inspiration more than any other.
What motivational words keep you going when your creative efforts stall?