I’m doing it. I’m signing up. I’ve signed up.

I have been staring down the barrel of NaNoWriMo for years. Being in the book publishing industry, it’s kind of hard to miss. Every November a flood of novelists share their stories of woe and writing as they press to churn out 50,000 words in 30 days.

I have ideas that I’ve been tossing around for years. They are aching to get out. Longing for enough of my focus and attention to make it to paper. But time and time again I let life get in the way. I tell myself there’s no time when I know I could wake earlier. I say I don’t have the energy while expelling that energy elsewhere, to projects that have less of my heart.

I am, of course, busy. I have three kids, a job, two blogs and a home that occasionally needs cleaning. Friends that occasionally need visiting. Family that occasionally needs loving. I’m not exactly sitting around doing nothing all day, but in the words of the great Elizabeth Gilbert (the current head of my writing witch coven), “you don’t find time, you make it.”

Everyone is too busy to write.

Literally everyone. The people who are actually writers though make time. This may mean that in November my shelves are a little dustier, Shameless is less watched, my kids get hot dogs instead of pork tenderloin, my alarm goes off at five. None of these things will even be a blip on anyone’s radar. None of this will change me deeply from the inside out.

What will change me is continuing to ignore my muse. Continuing to push down the thing that teases my senses day in and day out. What will change me is the release of words long trapped inside my brain. What will change me is showing the people closest to me that this dream – this crazy, untamable, but caged dream – is real. That I am who I say I am. Those things will change me. Laundry will not. Making soup will not. Hand-crafting Fall decorations will not.

I’m still scared.

Even though I have all the right intentions and all the right reasons for participating in NaNoWriMo on my side, I’m scared shitless. I’m scared I’ll flake out and let life take over. I’m scared I’ll sit down at the desk and feel like a fraud.

All my life I have feared failing before I even try to do something. I’m afraid¬†I won’t be who I set out to be and that this is failure. This is the ultimate disappointment. As time passes, however, I’m beginning to realize that the true failure comes from doing nothing. It comes from hoping I will be something some day, but not doing anything to work towards that goal. I started this blog four years ago hoping that it would motivate me to live up to my own fears, but it isn’t a blog or a person or a book or even a challenge that can do that. Only I can. So I am taking a stab at NaNoWriMo to propel myself forward in this endeavor. My first draft will likely suck. According to most veterans of National Novel Writing Month (and really any author) it’s supposed to suck. It’s a first draft for Christ sake. This – I will have to repeatedly tell myself – is not failure. It’s the not doing that is failure.

So here I go. Into the unknown. Anyone else taking the plunge?


  • Lean into that scared shitless feeling and channel it into the pages. You can do it! I’m a new reader of yours – but now a fan. I’m doing NaNo too and writing something different than what I’ve ever written before – the scared shitless feeling is familiar to me!!! GOOD LUCK. I’ll be cheering you on!

  • Thanks for comment @Jade_Eby:disqus ! And thanks for reading. Glad I’m not the only one scared. Now that I’ve gotten started, “excited” has totally replaced “scared.” How about you? Good Luck with NaNo!