The essence of a writer

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As NaNoWriMo is progressing, I keep reading on social media the various realizations of what it means to be a writer. The most harmful one is “I can do flash fiction or a poem but not a 50’000 word novel, what is wrong with me?”

Nothing, there is nothing wrong with you. What is wrong is the label that you use for yourself.

There are many different styles of writers just like in any art form. Take dancing. We have hip-hop dancers, classic ballet dancers, break dancers, ballroom dancers, the list goes on. The same thing counts for writers. There are those who enjoy writing haikus. One haiku is just 17 syllables. A poem can be as short and as long as you want. The word count doesn’t make the poet.

I wish that people would stop using labels in an exclusive manner. You need not be a novelist to participate in NaNoWriMo. If you enjoy writing poetry, that is your style for NaNoWriMo. You enjoy writing short stories or one-act plays? That’s your style for NaNoWriMo. Do you need to adjust the word count? Go for it!

The essence of NaNoWriMo should be to get into a daily writing routine that allows you to kickstart a new project, to create a draft that you can then edit, advance, and complete.

And while we are at it, not every writer seeks publication through traditional publishing. So the anticipated post-NaNoWriMo stress of finding an agent and a publisher, is just getting yourself worked-up over nothing, really. Just because some want that doesn’t mean that you have to go the same route.

Some want to self-publish, some want to build up their writing portfolio by contributing to websites such as Medium, and others enjoy guest blogging. Bloggers, by the way, are writers too even though there’s no novel in sight.

The essence of NaNoWriMo is to further the love for writing. The essence is NOT to make you feel bad about yourself. Now go write!

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