Last year at this time, I was powering through writing my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I may have been taking a break or twelve to attend a Tony Robbins convention. Tony was fun for a day or so, but I’m not as (I don’t want to use the word cultish, not only because I’m not sure it’s a word, but because it would probably be perceived as insensitive) as some others who were there. He has his devotees, that’s for sure.
Despite writing time I missed out on during last year’s “Unleashing the Power Within,” I’m pretty sure I benefited from it. Maybe not as much as some. The weekend was essentially high-speed therapy. Having gone through plenty of therapy, it felt redundant to ME. To lots of people on the audience, though, who might have thought they were there to learn business mastery, I’m sure they felt either great peace, or great trauma followed by great peace. Me: I just kept talking to people around me. Why are you here? Where are you from? What do you hope to achieve when you get home?
What I told EVeryone I wanted to achieve was “be a writer.” Not “publish a 80k word novel,” not even “finish my work in progress.” Just BE a writer. It doesn’t require writing credits (although, I could pull some out of my sleeve, if you really wanted me to). And it’s totally not about quantity. It’s about the act. It’s about getting oneself to work each day and stringing words together.
I recently read a nonfiction book that was an adaptation of a doctoral student’s dissertation. I was suuuuper confounded, not only because she’d found even more ground to cover than in her original format, but that she had SO MANY WORDS. At what point does one just run out of things to say about something?? Yet she never did. (By the way, 5 ⭐️ to Leslie Jamison for The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath. As a recovering person, I loved the various perspectives, including the author’s own.)
Even by that wide definition of “writer” I’d had in mind at the Tony Robbins event, I haven’t been pulling my weight. So this November, just in time for NaNoWriMo, I recommitted myself to daily writing and began a new project. Even if I’ve only written a few hundred words each day so far, it’s still writing.
Because I am a writer.