When was the last time you did something brave? Something that terrified you and made you wonder who the bleep you thought you were, doing a thing like that as though you have every right to do this brave thing you’re doing?
Make no mistake – if you’re reading this and doing JuNoWriMo, you are doing something brave this month. That’s true whether this is your first time or you’re a veteran JuNoer.
As a writer, you’ve done a lot of brave things. Even just claiming the “writer” label is an act of bravery. You may not have shared it with anyone else, and kept it your own secret, but it’s still brave. Every word you write is an act of bravery, even if you pretended it wasn’t terrifying while you were doing it.
I’m willing to bet that at some point this month, you looked your Imposter Syndrome in the green eyes, and told it to step back and let you do this thing it was trying to tell you you aren’t good enough for or have no business doing.
Have you taken the time to congratulate yourself on that?
If not, please stop reading and do that right now, because you deserve recognition! Yes, you – whether you’re already done for the month, or so far behind you know you aren’t going to get anywhere near 50,000 words for the month.
Because you showed up and did something brave. Because you wrote words, and each and every one was an act of bravery and a tiny step closer to your writing dreams.
And, by trying, you gave yourself information on what worked and what didn’t. You can use that going forward.
Did you celebrate? Really stop, and look at where you started and where you are right now, and take credit for every single word you have now that you didn’t have on May 31?
If so, go you! You just honored your own bravery!
And if not – why not? Are you letting the Imposter Syndrome get the best of you and tell you nothing less than a 50,000 word month “counts?”
If your JuNoWriMo so far hasn’t been a rousing success, that silly Imposter Syndrome is probably right back in your face now, squealing, “I told you so!” and doing a ridiculous little dance.
But don’t believe it for a second, because it’s wrong.
The real challenge was looking it in the eye in the first place. And since you did that once, you can do it again. Just give that monster a level stare and inform it, “I hear and see you. You can go now – I have better things to do.”
It’s important to let that monster know it doesn’t have power over you.
So, please, if you haven’t celebrated, take five minutes and do that now. Step outside and breathe deeply for a minute or two. Listen to the sounds around you. Get a cup of coffee or tea or some treat. Look at what you’ve already accomplished.
And then…. Take the next tiny step, and the one after that. One word at a time. Let’s see how many words you can end up with. Let’s count each one as a tiny step toward your writing dreams and celebrate them all!
Shan Jeniah Burton is a content creation expert by day; a writer of fiction, poetry, and essays by night; and a mom, Trekkie, and pit bull’s Emotional Support Human always!