Well, today is Thanksgiving in the US. A day to visit family, eat a lot of food, and not get a lot of work done unless you’re one of those unfortunate people who works in the food service or retail who have to spend the morning catering to irate last-minute shoppers or thrifty/greedy bargain-hunting consumers who left the comfort and warmth of their homes and families behind in order to get the deal on some electronics or household items without having to camp outside a store all night. Having done the camping thing before, to get a game console for one of my siblings, I can’t fault people who would choose to go out the day before if it were an option, but I still think its pretty awful to have people who need to work on holidays.
It’s a complicated issue since it involves income inequality, consumerism/capitalism, and a whole bunch of other things that can probably get wrapped under the inequality and consumerism/capitalism. I don’t feel like I should be commenting on this too much since I have a job with holidays, make enough money to live comfortably as a single adult, and participate in some parts of the consumerism and capitalism. I’m a part of the problem, if not the biggest part of the problem, so I don’t want to criticize.
Now that I’ve gotten that little rant out-of-the-way, I can complain about the cold that just won’t leave, won’t let me work, and is putting a serious hold on my travel plans. My head-fuzziness is back, so I don’t really trust myself to safely carry out all my original plans, so I’ve had to make some new ones. I also didn’t get much writing done yesterday, maybe 1000 words, and I don’t think I’m going to get much done today. If all I do today is rest, eat, and go to bed early, I think I’ll count myself accomplished. Tomorrow, though, we will see… This cold seems to take rather drastic leaps in different directions every time I sleep, so I’m hesitant to make projections about how tomorrow will go.
I really would like to keep writing. I’m at the exciting part where I introduce conflicts and start to really establish the main themes of the books. I’ve made little hints and set a lot of the stage of this moment during the past 15,000 words, so I’m excited to start writing it. I have an idea of where its going, but I really want to find out how its going to get there. I really hope I feel well enough tomorrow to just sit down and crank out the next several thousand words. That would be nice. I’d enjoy that.
Fear can drive us to do some rather ridiculous things. Fears related to physical harm can spur us to take action when we otherwise might not, they can cause us to flee what might be a dangerous situation, and they can drive us to perform better than we thought possible by giving us an extra bit of energy to burn. Fears related to emotion harm are much less clear-cut or cause-and-effect. Fear of rejection and abandonment can cause us to avoid attachments of any kinds. Fear situations that have hurt us before can cause us to avoid anything new or out of the ordinary. Nearly silent fears of our own inadequacy can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Today, write about a fear your character experiences and what it makes them do, either to escape the fear or confront it.
Today’s inspiration is actually one of the first book series I ever got hooked on: the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. This series about anthropomorphic animals living in a wonderful high-fantasy setting is probably the biggest reason I came to love reading and eventually came to love writing. I didn’t do a whole lot of reading after I learned how to, preferring smaller books that wound up being a few years behind my reading level by the time I was given Mariel of Redwall and Redwall by one of my Aunts as a present. Intrigued by the Mouse with a sword on the cover of Redwall and the commercials I saw on PBS for the animated series, I dug right in and couldn’t get enough to read from then on.
The first author I ever met was Brian Jacques, only a year or two before he passed away. Even now, I can feel the influence the books had on me. Their dedication to making the world feel real and their abundant, wonderful descriptions of food struck a wonderful balance of just enough description to draw you in without losing the pace of the story. I still get sad when I remember that there will be no more Redwall books and I’ll admit that I’ve been unable to read the last book in the series because it’s too emotional. As long as I never read it, there will always be one more book I’ve never read and I’ll be able to put off having read them all.
As urgent and important as National Novel Writing Month can feel, its important to remember that the rest of your life is important as well. If you don’t manage to finish your writing this month, you haven’t really failed. Sure, you failed a goal you set for yourself, but you tried and trying is often more important for something as long-term as writing. If you can become good at trying, no matter what else happens when you try, I can guarantee you will eventually succeed. The would is full of writers who didn’t start writing right away. People who never even imagined themselves to be writers or that it would even be an option for them. Eventually, they started trying. Eventually, they succeeded. You may not make a million dollars or be the next JK Rowling, but that’s not the point of writing anyway. Write to tell stories. Write because you have something you want to say. Write because you love to use words. Finishing a story is success and whatever happens afterwards is just gravy.