NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Raina Anatra (aka Barbara Jacksha)

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Be Grateful for Where You Are

We’ve just had Thanksgiving here in the U.S., a season when the smell of roasted turkeys and feelings of gratitude hang in the air. It’s easy to be grateful for so many things and people in our lives, but how often does our writing make the list?

When you think about your writing, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Are you thrilled with the idea of sitting down at your desk/couch/coffee shop chair and pounding away at the keys? Or are you frustrated, feeling like you should be farther along, or maybe questioning your ability to write in the first place? If the latter describes you or you on some days, take heart. It’s only your starting point.

Let’s throw gratitude into your writing mix. You can keep a gratitude journal, including all the wonderful things that happen during your writing life that often get overlooked. That’s a great ongoing practice, but I’m going to suggest you do one thing right now.

Give a big shout out of Gratitude to wherever you are right now in your writing project, your process and your career. Hug it, acknowledge and accept it as part of your crazy, topsy-turvey writing journey.

Many of you are writing your NaNoWriMo novels, and this last week can be a sticky one. If you’ve already finished your 50,000 words, then gratitude is easy. Whoop and dance around and celebrate all you’ve done. But what if you’re running low on ideas or that early-NaNoWriMo-induced adrenaline? Then be grateful for where you’re at. Celebrate each fresh word you’ve put on paper that is only there because you made the brave choice to take on this challenge. What if you signed up but didn’t write? Be grateful you signed up. That’s a step forward. And there’s still time left in November to write.

Gratitude for where we’re at changes how we look at our projects and ourselves. It lightens things up. It opens things up. Gratitude makes it easier to go back to your project and say “this is great, but now what might I do”? In that way, gratitude becomes a form of momentum that can help move you forward to the next place you want to be.

As the month of November and NaNoWriMo start to wind down, let that gratitude and momentum help you finish strong. Whatever “finishing strong” means to you. My writing coach and mentor Tracee Beebee often reminds me that finishing strong is even more important than starting strong. Why? Because finishing strong gives you momentum for the next phase of your project. For writing the next draft of your novel. Or for whatever writing or editing you do in December.

All that momentum sounds good, doesn’t it? You can set it in motion simply by being grateful for where you and your projects are. Right here. Right now.

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