You can’t fix a blank page

No matter what you think of Nora Roberts’ romance writing you have to admire her for her prolific career (206 novels and counting).

Something I’ve been trying to get better at is just showing up and writing every day. I might not always feel like the light of divine imagination is leaking from my fingers, but our habits form the foundation of our lives.

You are not what you say.

You are what you do.

Lawyers don’t feel like reading court cases every day, and I doubt cardiovascular surgeons show up every day saying, “Yippee, another coronary artery bypass grafting!” (Okay, there’s probably one who does).

But that’s the thing, right?

They have to do their jobs whether or not they feel like it. Writing is the same.

I see people (me too) get frustrated with their work when they develop expectations for it. Despite this, writing one page of shit still puts you in a better place than having a big blank.

Always have something.

Don’t be afraid of your shitty writing.

So, I will be doing NaNoWriMo again this year. National Novel Writing Month is a 30 day writing challenge that happens every November. The goal is to finish with 50,000 words (‘novel’ length) written. Most people break this down into daily chunks of around 1,500 words.

It’s no small commitment, especially when faced with work, school, and all the other bits of daily life that fill in the cracks.

I came very close to not doing it, but then a friend of mine posted this simple yet genius advice on my Facebook wall:

“I never aim to win, I just want to write as much as I can for 30 minutes a day. I also want to beat my goal from last year.”

Why didn’t I think of that? It’s such an obvious solution. NaNo is like a marathon. When you run a marathon, everyone doesn’t aim for the same personal best.

That would be crazy.

Yes, traditional NaNo is 50,000 words in a novel format, but if you write anything (screenplay, poems, novel, whatever) for half an hour a day, you will progress. You will get somewhere.

I’d rather have 12,000 words at the end of 30 days on a novel I can go back and edit than have nothing at the end of 30 days. All or nothing is not the way to grow.

Also, once you’ve written it down, you’ve given birth to it.  Now you just have to edit it and then release it out into the world.

Nothing to it…. right?

The important thing is to write SOMETHING.

Even if you’re stumbling around in the dark, you’ll feel the shape of things.

For the curious, I took his photo right beside the Lake Agnes Tea House. This part of the mountain (specifically the left side) is called Big Beehive. We had some really great fog skulking in and out that day. Lucky times.

Download the wallpaper.

Author: Mel Hattie

Hi, Iโ€™m Mel, blogger and tea sommelier at Mel Had Tea. I love to explore, learn, and meet new people. Nothing inspires me more than reading, traveling the world, talking to strangers, and drinking tea.

What do you think?

  • Mel,

    This is so true. I aim to write five days a week, and I hit it every week. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t grow enough.

    Have fun with NaNoWriMo! I’ve done it in the past and always love it.


    • Thanks Erin! I love your goal of five days a week. So good! Having a schedule of writing definitely helps. It means you’re always pushing yourself. Always proceeding. When I used to play flute all the time it wasn’t irregular for me to practice for a few hours every day. The same thing applies to writing; if you want to be a master. ๐Ÿ˜‰