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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Chiara C.

Dear writer, 

Fingers sore from typing and retyping paragraphs? Head spinning with hundreds of plots, scenes, and dialogues? Wishing you could subdue the furious throbbing in your temples by simply pressing a download button that transferred your fragmented thoughts directly to your computer?

This would be nice but your job is to write, not to download. Yes, that’s right, you are a writer! Don’t even think about turning your head to check for someone more qualified or “author-like” reading over your shoulder. I speak to you, from one writer to another. Listen. Accept. Believe. You are a writer.

Maybe you haven’t figured out how to turn your seemingly fallible ideas into flowing, logical paragraphs. That’s okay! Write down now what you can, few or insufficient as the words and sentences may seem. Don’t wait for the inspiration to fully form, take hold of it now and put it to use. It may start as just one word that captures the feeling of your idea. That may easily be enough to get you started. Just write it down and let your story begin. As your story absorbs those ideas they will become everything they need to be.

Your participation in NaNoWriMo is something that you chose and committed to do. Because of that brave choice, you are writing for yourself. You get to choose each specific thing you say. Nobody else can—or likely would—give your bold character aubergine hair and a pointed goatee, then recount his ventures howling Billy Joel songs to vagrants in dark alleys under the deep midnight sky. You alone get to define his identity as a valet, a villain, or one more lonely vagrant.

Still, seizing your powers of intelligence and creative genius from your mind to become words covering pages can be difficult. Let me suggest one way to try: get into character! Act out the scenario your character is about to experience (but don’t take it too far!). You’ve made your character do everything else so far, and you decide what comes next. By enacting the scene you can learn more about your character than by simply imagining it. This way you can better perceive the next move. Revel in your character's mood and listen to the music you think depicts the way they feel. You need to understand and relate consciously (unless they are in a coma) to the way they feel.

Your novel may start slow, but once you get into your groove words will flow from your fingers. Sooner than you expect, you will get to the point where there are words staying on the screen. Whether your word count stretches to thousands or stays anywhere closer to ten, your ideas are worth the effort. It is you that is taking the time to share your ability, your creativity, and most of all your story. Be proud of yourself for making the choice to try and for ending up succeeding even more than you thought you could have. By the time the month has ended, the progress you make and the experience you gain will astonish you.

photo of Chiara C.

Chiara is a fifth-year consecutive participant in NaNoWriMo and hopes to someday have the satisfaction of her name on a finished and printed novel to proudly show her family. She is a 16-year-old junior homeschooling since she started school. Born in Colorado but since lived in 5 of the other United States, as well as Sydney, Australia. She is learning the violin, working as a nanny, and continuing in her education of cooking as she deals daily with the struggles that Celiac Disease brings to her life. Her friends appreciate her difference of perspective and her honesty in every situation. She is eager to continue her successes and failures in life as a writer!

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