NaNoWriMo has come and gone and I’ve got around 6,000 words of the 50K, but really I stopped writing after the first few days. It wasn’t some gradual fade either. It was a full on, dead stop, right in mid-sentence.
Not only didn’t I make it, I hardly tried.
The easiest reason to give is work. It’s the reason most people give and I would certainly be within my rights to do so. After all, it’s not like we’re lollygagging. Still, I think that’s the easy out for me. Over the years, I’ve worked lots of crazy jobs under tight deadlines and still managed to get my writing time in.
Writing is about showing up, and I haven’t been showing up.
If I added up all the words I’ve written in the last year, it wouldn’t amount to much more than a week’s output of my former writing self. Still, even though I’m not putting down words, it doesn’t mean I’m not writing. I’ve had ideas for stories and books. I still get excited when I think about getting to the keyboard. I still haunt the bookstores and hear the tales calling to me from the stacks.
I’m still writing.
There are some people who will say that I’m kidding myself, that I’m not really writing. I don’t really care about that. Frankly, those people are the same people who are likely to tell you that story X, Y, or Z is awful or that you’ll never be a writer or that even if you are a writer you’ll never make a living at it. These are the same people who will push you down in the gutter and tell you to get back up again too.
Fuck those people.
Writing is about showing up every day. This is true. Writing is also about looking at the world a little differently than most people. It’s about looking into the deep “why’s” of the world. It’s about ancient patterns that persist across the whole of human history. Writing is about a single moment and what it means to one very particular person. Writing is about song and tears and the red hot passions that lead people to love and kill each other. Writing is about humanity, and I haven’t stopped being human just yet.
I’m still writing. How about you?