Pep Talk Week 1: The Dancer and the Nag

Mat Morris comes to us as a veteran of the 30-day novel challenge–and not only a veteran, but a wizard, having completed 50,000 words in 24 hours. Enjoy his Pep Talk; we know it’ll fire you up for the challenge ahead!


Greetings, fellow Dream Warriors. Welcome to the beginning of the end.

Most of you don’t know me, and that’s fine. This isn’t about me. It’s about you.

You see, you’re about to embark on a journey that will change your life. You’re about to do something that most only fantasize about. You’re going to take that little voice whispering in your ear, and you’re going to set it free. And I’m going to share with you a dirty little secret that will let you do it.

Everyone has a story to tell.

Now, you might be wondering why I called you a Dream Warrior. And we’ll come back to that. Promise.

More importantly, you might be wondering why someone you’ve never heard of was asked to impress upon you some words of inspiration. Honestly, as I sit here on the night of my deadline, writing what amounts to my third attempt at arranging my thoughts into something coherent, I’m wondering the very same thing.

So, a short bit about me—the current voice in your head.

You see, I was asked to write this because of my past successes in completing these little word challenges. Technically, I’ve completed the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a single month on more occasions than I’ve actually counted. But what seems to impress (read: stupefy) people the most is that, on four occasions, I’ve completed it within a 24 hour period.

Yes. You read that correctly.

But I’m not here to prattle on about what I’ve done in the past. Because, again, this is about you. Not me. It doesn’t matter what anyone else has done. What matters is what you are going to do. I’m just here to share the dark little secret that allowed me to succeed where so many others have fallen short.

Everyone has a story to tell.

So, what kind of black magic did I conjure to write 50,000 words in 24 hours? And how can you use it to succeed in your quest?

Well, I’ve got a bit of a confession…

I can’t take all of the credit for what I accomplished. You see, I’ve got a comrade-in-arms. I’ve trained him to come to my aid whenever I’m in need.

He guides me. He clears my path. He victoriously battles anything that might dare to stand in my way. (More often than not, he’s doing battle with his archenemy. But we’ll come back to him later.)

So, what is this unnatural, heroic force that comes to my rescue and carries me to the promised land?

He’s an old friend. He’s been with me my whole life. He’s that quiet voice in the back of my head that whispers: Mat, you’re the only one who can live your dreams.

He’s my Dream Warrior.

And if you’re reading this, he’s inside of you, too. I know this because he’s the reason you’re here. He’s the one whispering in your head, refusing to shut up. You’re the only one who can tell your story.

Everyone has a story to tell.

But there are only a few who even try.

Most of you probably don’t know what it feels like to unleash your Dream Warrior. Our lives are filled with so much happy routine. We keep the Dream Warrior shackled and bound. We can’t let him call all the shots. We have responsibilities, obligations, expectations. We can’t just do whatever we want.

Enter, the archenemy.

Enter, the Comfort Monster.

You might laugh at his disguise, because he sounds so innocuous. But don’t be fooled. He’ll ruin your life if you let him. He rules us all. He calls the shots. He keeps us content. And so many are fine with just being content.

Are you?

I suspect not. Or you wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t be ready to embark on something new and adventurous. This month, everything changes. This month, you’re going to do something different. This month you will tell the Comfort Monster that he has no place in your life.

This month, you will unleash the Dream Warrior.

He will be timid at first. He’s been beaten into silence for most of your life. He’ll need encouragement to leave the cage he’s so familiar with. He’ll need enticement to come out and play. But you can lure him with the music of your fingers on the keyboard. You can woo him your clacking melody. And then sit back and watch as he begins his magical dance.

It won’t all happen at once. And it won’t be perfect. But it doesn’t have to be. If you keep playing, he’ll keep dancing. And the more you play for him, the more magical his dance will become.

But, beware.

The Comfort Monster will be lurking around every corner. He’ll try all manner of tricks to stop you. He doesn’t like when the Dream Warrior comes out to play. He doesn’t like the sound of your music. He likes for everything to stay exactly the same.

Some of his tricks are more obvious than others. They come in the form of doubts about your writing. They’re meant to slow you down. To silence you. Don’t listen to them!

Your plot is fine.

No, you didn’t dump too much info.

Your characters are interesting.

But those aren’t the only tricks up the Comfort Monster’s sleeves. He will whisper other lies into your ear to interrupt your song. These lies will be much more subtle. Much more believable. And much more insidious.

Your house is clean enough.

No, you don’t need to see that movie on opening night.

Your phone will not explode if you don’t immediately respond to every text message.

You must be vigilant. You must have your guard up at all times. These aren’t the only ways that the Comfort Monster will try to throw you off course. There will be others. Protect yourself from them. And, most importantly, keep playing your song.

Do whatever it takes, but keep showing up. Keep playing. Keep having fun. Push your worries aside for a while. They won’t be upset with you. There are no rules—don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. And remember the words of the Dream Warrior: You’re the only one who can live your dreams.

Everyone has a story to tell.

But there are only a few who even try.

Will you make it to The End?

If you keep playing, he’ll keep dancing. On and on you go. Where you stop, only July will know.

Mat MorrisMat has been writing and publishing full time since the beginning of 2013. He’s successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the last three years. In both 2013 and 2014 he completed all 50,000 words of the challenge during a 24-hour period. In fact, in 2014 he completed three times over three separate days. It was a fun experience, but he doesn’t recommend it for general health reasons.

When he’s not doing something crazy and getting in over his head, you can probably find him either playing his guitar or binge watching New Girl. (Please don’t ask me how many times he’s seen the first three seasons of New Girl… he’s too embarrassed to fess up.)

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3 Replies to “Pep Talk Week 1: The Dancer and the Nag”

  1. Yup, this is such a great post!
    Thank you Mat for taking the time to arrange your thoughts and write this great pep talk! It means a lot, at least to me 😉
    The “Will you make it to The End?” part sounds so nice and encouraging I actually wrote it on the cover of my current notebook! So thanks again! I think I’ll make it 🙂

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