Do you remember in elementary school, when you would dress up as pilgrims and Indians, and act out the first Thanksgiving with a choppy, student-written script and hand-made costumes; sit down with a bunch of people you didn’t know who claimed to be your family and eat until you were sure you wouldn’t eat for another month; make handprint turkeys and write a list of everything that you were thankful for? Yeah, me too.
You know what? I never really thought I’d be thankful for writing. Sure, when I was little I was able to craft silly stories, which progressed into research papers that I didn’t mind as much as my peers, but it wasn’t until last November in my first NaNoWriMo that I really understood how much of an impact writing had made on my life.
My first NaNo story was about a suicidal girl who lost her best friend to cancer. I will admit, it wasn’t the greatest story I’d ever written, but it wasn’t too bad, considering I popped in 9k words on the last day to finish. However, I had never written that much in my whole life. 50k words in one month was absolutely crazy, but I did it. Lesson learned: When you set my mind to something and commit to it, you can actually get it done.
Last April, I did Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set myself a goal of 60k. In one month. 10k more words than I had previously done. And you know what? I did it. Plus 18k more words than I had expected. Lesson learned: You are the one who sets your goals and dreams and make them happen; dream big or go home. Also, I lost computer privleges for three days, so I had to hand-write 6k words. Ouch. Lesson learned: Don’t backtalk your parents.
I used to think I wasn’t a creative person, but, boy, was I wrong. I don’t care if you think your story idea is silly, or no one is going to like it. If you think that, then it’s probably a unique idea. Nobody wants to read a book similar to something they’ve already read, because it’s boring and seems like a rip-off. Lesson learned: You are a creative force. If it’s silly, it’s new, and it’s great.
When you develop your characters, more often than not, you put a little piece of yourself into them, and sometimes bits of them work their way into your heart as well. They are precious to you and you’d never let them go for the world. And you know what makes an interesting character? Quirks. The twitch she has in her left eye, that fact that he can’t go a day without a piece of gum, her tendency to stutter when she talks to the guy she likes. But you know what? These things make a character relatable and memorable. Chances are, the things you don’t like about yourself is someone else’s favorite thing about you. Lesson learned: You’re beautiful, and awesome, and if someone tells you otherwise, punch them in the face.
Writing brings people together. Albeit weird people, but people nonetheless. People who write understand the pain that is trying to create something out of nothing. People who write, ultimately, are just like everyone else. They have their own relationship problems, their own income problems, their own writing problems. They just have something a little extra that brings you and them together. Through writing, I have met so many other people that share the same passions I do, and the connections I have made go farther than our shared hobby. Lesson learned: You are never alone.
I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving and that they are able to really reach out and connect with other people this year and just be thankful for everything around them.