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Pep Talk from Carolivia Herron

photo of Carolivia Herron

Dear Writer,

This message is for you. Yeah, you. You know who you are. You are the one so worried about having nothing to write about that you create a whole system of references and stimulators. Hey, a passage from Dante maybe, "Abandon Hope all you who enter here."

Once I did a NaNoWriMo novel. I took two places, a seashore in Massachusetts, a desert in Arizona. And then I thought about the sand in the two places. It's somewhere to start. And two children in the sand. And sand paintings. And ribbed sand at low tide. The moon does a lot of that, messing with sand. But what was I talking about? How is the sand in Massachusetts connected to the sand in Arizona? I had these two places, and then I put people in them. It actually worked.

You could try that.

Sometimes the words are a waterfall and the water knows exactly where it’s coming from and exactly where it’s going. If your story is like that you are only listening to me to be polite. You are taking a break between catching buckets of water to pour out into words. That’s okay. I'm so anxious to read what you are writing that I don't mind how you misuse my words. I want to know what you are knowing as you pour away into your word count. Books that pour like waterfalls have been a long time coming. It only happened once for me that way. Mostly I take much too long and use too many words.

The end of beginning comes. I promise it to you. You may not be beside the Mediterranean. Perhaps not in the Sandia Mountains. And not on the great river. But who knows, perhaps it is possible. But wait before tweaking it and shaping it and molding it just so. Take this time just to scatter all the pieces in front of you, and then slowly, after the time, methodically, gather the heaps of visions into place. Gather them, watch them, follow them.

My favorite gift. My favorite novel. A friend gave it to me. It was a ream of paper, 500 pages, blank. It was all wrapped up in fancy paper. “When you read this book it will be your favorite book in the whole world.” And there it was, The novel I had to write myself. Get yourself a ream of paper and make your favorite book. That’s one way to do it.

Who has time to write a novel in one month, not me.

But the thing is, do you have the fortitude not to write a novel this November? Give in, give up, and write it. You’ll find after all that writing your novel it is the easy way out. And there you have it, another wild bold story loosed into the world. I like it.

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