Let me off you this bit of encouragement: you have already done the hardest thing. The hardest thing that you have done, or will do, for this endeavor is start.
You started! At this point, accept the nerves that will come with this. Accept that the map is not completely laid, the ideas will stutter, and there may even be some days that you think you cannot do this. With you not believing you can’t go on or write another word–when the fear and apprehension try to take hold–do this: breathe.
As hard as it is, I want you to breathe. I want you to remember the thoughts you want to write are yours; the story is yours; the space is yours; you are still in control! Bear in mind the words of James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed unless it is faced.”
This is the fear you must face, and face down–this unknown. You must embrace this unsteadiness–it will pass. It will pass as you continue on. You can do it. Keep going.
Now after the pace of NaNoWriMo, I’m sure that planning is the last thing that you desire to do. Yet, as a writer, this is what we do–often. Even when we don’t think about it! Planning is the thing that we do in order to make writing easier, stronger and less stressful! Planning is not a nebulous thing though, it requires tools and investment. Yes, investment. Planning takes many forms as well! This can be in the form of outlining, free writing and even a file to store research info! What I want to remind you of is this: talent is not enough. Talent, no matter how great, still requires discipline and a map. Planning, no matter how minute, will give you a map! This map is needed to create what you need to write as you so desire. It allows you to use wisdom with a most valued commodity–time. If you decide to continue a project, or even begin one, and to adhere to deadline, you need a plan. Time is not always on a writer’s side, so you need to make it bend to your will–by pen and plan.
Writing is a muscle, a superpower and a way of translating the world into smaller bites for other people to digest. This is not for the faint! But be brave in your wording, steadfast in your creative intent, and don’t be afraid of critics.
There are deep feelings attached to writing, even wanting to write. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to come up with an idea to write. Let alone try to make that idea something concrete! Trust me, I get it. Ernest Hemingway said the way to write is to ‘sit at a typewriter and bleed.’ In some many ways, Papa Hemingway was right. The hardest thing sometimes as a writer to totally unleash what is in your head and heart at the same time.
At the same time.
Some of the boldest things you will ever write will be the most painful. Writing is cathartic and hard. Really hard. But, not impossible. With that in mind, I pose a question to you.
What are you scared to find?
You shouldn’t be scared–you know where are all the monsters are, where are the dark places are–you have the map! You are the light! Nothing that you find should be a shock, surprise or so foreign to your imagination that it cannot be handled. Writing requires a type of bravery which demands you be equally aware and humble. You must be aware enough of your own imagination so that you can create; humble enough to know that first drafts are the roughest expression of what you desire to create.
Now read that again.
Again, I pose the question: What are you scared to find?
In spite of support, opposition or doubt–continue.
It is a powerful word, continue. For a writer, it means you have or should be endowed with enough strength to complete that which you have started. Regardless of how long it takes. Regardless of who thinks you can’t. As a writer, continue is your superpower.
No matter how long is has been to start, no matter how long it may take to finish. Activate your continue. That, dear one, is at the core of all writers.