As the minutes countdown until the official start of #NaNoWriMo I find myself seeking reassurance from professionals and amateurs alike. I have multiple tabs open on my computer so that I can jump from Twitter, to the various Facebook groups I am a member of, to a group chat I have with some friends, to the official NaNoWriMo page and back again. All of this activity is simply filler as I try to avoid the fact that my excitement has transported into fear.
Anxiety is a much to common bedfellow and her ugly hand has my heart clenched in her hands, but she shall not win; the next time she tightens her grip I will not fear. Through the process of preparing for this writing adventure I have discovered something important – I do not have to lean into the fear, nor do I have to fight it. It is a feeling, but it does not have to define me nor rule my actions.
In a recent Pep Talk from writer, Daniel Jose Older, he said that his favourite writing advice was a line from a poem by Antonio Machado:
“Walker, there is no path / the path is made by walking.”
I take these words to heart. I cannot keep searching for someone to offer me the perfect method, be it writing or living; there is not a magic potion or a secret map. The journey is mine to explore, the pains and the joys are mine to feel. The barriers are mine to smash down, or climb over, or dig beneath. Writing, as with life, can be very messy and that is okay. It is okay not to know exactly which direction I should be heading, it is okay to feel anxious of the unknown but you know what isn’t okay? Stopping.
No longer am I okay with giving up, I may take breaks, detours and revisit certain places but I am not going to stop.