As I promised in my last post, I’m going to post NaNoWriMo and other writing inspiration talks from the NaNoWriMo site. I think the NaNoWriMo pep talks are really cool because they get so many different types of authors to write letters directly to the participants. Famous authors are talking to people like me. Brandon Sanderson has done this multiple times. James Patterson, Kate DiCamillo, Scott Westerfeld, Lois Lowry, Ally Condie, John Green, Gail Carson Levine, and Lemony Snicket have all given pep talks. Here’s the collection of previous pep talks if you want to take a look and read through them.
The pep talk I wanted to mention here on my blog is by Lev Grossman because I think his talk was incredibly entertaining. Instead of talking about writing, he uses a metaphor of being reaped for the Hunger Games. The original pep talk can be found here, but I’ll sum it up for you. He presents two main points- Writing Requires Nerve, and Writing Comes With Doubt.
Using his Hunger Games analogy, he says, “Once you get in that Arena, Tributes are going to be biting the dust to the left and right of you, and it’ll be because they’ve lost their nerve”. Now what this means in relation to writing is that anyone can start writing a novel, but it’s those who keep putting word after word that finish. Those who keep at it despite all the doubt and hardship, are the ones who can really call themselves writers.
But what he says at the end is really my favorite part. Talking about looking at the perfection that are already published novels, he reminds us that they were once where our novel is now, messy and unfinished. It wasn’t by chance that they became finished and adored. He says, “Forget that stuff about the odds being ever in your favor. What does that even mean? Screw the odds. There are no odds. You’re a writer, and writers make their own odds”.
Those inspiring words relate to all artists. We are what we make of ourselves, so make something great. No one else is going to put your pen to your paper and write your novel. You have to keep pushing through, despite the doubts about how great your novel will be. Just keep writing. I was reminded of this beautiful quote by Ray Bradbury.
Never forget that, and good luck with NaNoWriMo!