Nine years ago, Stueve convinced me that the best way to heal a broken heart would be to write. And the best way to get it all out was to just get to 50,000 words in 30 days. As I write that now, I think of the quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”
I was a little surprised at some of what fell out of my brain during that initial draft, and even more surprised when Stueve thought it was worth publishing.
It took another four years of hard work, but with the help of good editors, we polished that initial draft into something that I still am pretty proud of.
I don’t know if other writers experience this, but there’s a vibe, an indescribable push in my brain when I know I’m ready to write. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo every year since that first book, hoping I would get lucky to end the month with a polishable draft. And every year I have failed.
I think it’s because that vibe just wasn’t there.
About a month ago, I started to feel that push. My brain would start composing while I was driving, doing my hair, or taking walks. So I opened a new note on my phone and started writing down titles, themes.
NaNoWriMo starts in two days, and I have a list of 22 personal essay topics. I might not write all 22, but the ideas are there. I hope as I write them, connective tissue forms, and in a couple of years, I have something to publish.
All this is to say:
I’m doing NaNoWriMo 2020, so if you see me on Twitter, ask me what my word count is. If you notice I’m recently active on Instagram, ask me if I’ve met my daily goal.
And if you are so inclined, feel free to send encouraging messages throughout the month—I know I’ll need them.
But if I text or email back and you think I’m stalling, ask me to share the best sentence I wrote that day. And if I don’t have an answer, tell me to stop stalling and start writing.