Every year I have big plans to use *NaNoWriMo to get me motivated with my writing. I join a group with every intention of attending their write-ins, offering encouragement and participating in word counts. And every year, I realize that for me, writing is a solitary activity. Word count challenges don't do it for me. I am not motivated by everyone's ability to write more in a single day than me.

Some days I don't write a word. Some days I stare at the screen, or the paper and try to get into my character's heads--playing out a silent movie in my mind. Some days I write 1,000 words and then delete all but 50. And some days, I can't drag myself to my desk. On those days, I read. I read to be a better writer.

I'm currently rereading as many of Alice Munro's short stories as I can- I just bought 'Family Furnishings' which is a great collection of her stories from 1995-2014. In the forward is a quote from Munro that hit at the heart for me:

For years and years I thought that stories were just practice, till I got time to write a novel. Then I found that they were all I could do, and so I faced that.
— Alice Munro, in an interview for The New Yorker

I'm not sure if stories are all I can do, but they are all I can do right now. And I am going to be okay with that.


*Follow this link for more information on the NaNoWriMo event and the non-profit foundation that encourages K-12 students to write.

You can buy a copy of 'Family Furnishings', and many other Alice Munro collections from my favorite indie bookstore, BookPeople of Moscow.