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Pep Talk from Jenny Han

photo of Jenny Han

Dear my fellow writer,

I have been tasked with writing you an encouraging note at your darkest hour in this NaNoWriMo journey. Little did I know that I too would be at the don’t-give-up part of my own book journey! (Actually, I did know, because I have always known that my book would be due in December. But still, when you are writing a book, it very often feels like the darkest hour. And we all know that deadlines always feel far away when you first agree to them, am I right??)

You’re in the hard part now. You feel like giving up. I get it. I’m slogging along right there with you. The very same questions keep me up at night—can I really pull this off? Will I make it in time? Why did I ever agree to this?!?!

This is my eleventh book, and while I do take comfort in knowing that I’ve done it ten times before, it’s a very small and meager comfort, because the truth is, each book is different, each process is different. Writing a book is not like baking a cake—though how I wish it were! When you write a book, you don’t just insert ingredients and out comes a beautiful cake. (I mean book.) Also, you are obviously not a cake-baking machine. You are a person, you’ve got your own responsibilities and everyday things you have to do, like make dinner and watch Netflix and I don’t know, go to work.

But you’re a writer too. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have taken on this challenge—which, by the way, is a pretty big deal. I’ve always thought about joining in, but I’ve never done it, and neither have most people. But you’re not most people! You are you, on this NaNoWriMo journey, and whatever else happens, you will write this book.

Please believe me when I say that this is the hardest part. I truly believe that if you can make it through the middle, you can make it to the end. And when the night is long, know that I am right there with you, feeling my way through the darkness, wishing I could give up. However, there is the small matter of the contract I signed with my publisher…but you signed a contract with yourself! Keeping promises to yourself is its own thing, with its own rewards.

You owe this book to you. I believe in you, fellow writer. I believe in us.


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