Needing a Pep Talk

I am woefully behind on my 500 words per day challenge. I’ve been avoiding. I’ve been blogging and playing around on Pinterest, which is addicting by the way. I’ve been working at mothering, sistering, daughtering, spousing, and teaching. Lots of shopping and wrapping, too. But I haven’t been writing as much as I want, as much as I need. I am reminded of Lindsey Grant’s pep talk about sick cats. Toward the end of NaNoWriMo, I received an email from Lindsey, and with her permission, I have reprinted it below:

Hi Wrimos,
One wordy week remains in this literary marathon, and I am in the weeds. Nothing I can’t recover from, but I feel chagrined all the same. I don’t much like being behind, and the 23,000 words I have left to write are weighing on me.
I could make excuses for this. I have a really sick cat, for example. Yep, Mufasa K. Grant-Bowen is having a really rough November. (To be honest, he’s having a pretty rough life.)
You know what, though? We all have sick cats. Maybe your “sick cat” is a term paper; it could be a business trip smack in the middle of this already-intense month; perhaps it’s a sick parent or child. Or a sick you!
The point is, we all lead lives that are outrageously packed with obstacles, obligations, surprise catastrophes, (or, in my case, cat-astrophes). But we keep at it, because what we’re doing is important.
How much time in a day, or a week, or a month do we usually set aside to work on a project that is important to us? A project that allows us to create and explore and tell the story we’ve been carrying around in our head or heart for ages?
I know I spend most of my spare time on maintenance: exercising, doing laundry, buying the groceries, cleaning the dishes, making the bed, getting the car serviced, going to the dentist. And lately, going to the vet. A lot.
This is our time! This is our moment! Think of all that we can accomplish in the remaining week.
From where I stand in these word-count weeds, I am so heartened to know that we are all in this together. You, me, my sick cat, and everything else that keeps us away from our novels. Let’s steer this boat toward November 30 and make the very most of what time we’ve got. (And hope that my cat doesn’t barf on us.)
Packing extra paper towels,
Even though Lindsey’s pep talk was meant to encourage novel writers, her words are encouraging for writers in general. The idea is to just keep going. Don’t stop. Keep writing. Creating conditions for young writers to learn how to stick to it even though it is hard is a powerful experience.  This is more than a writing skill. It is a life skill. Lindsey's pep talk impacted me because I knew she was in the writing boat right along with me.  Our students need to know we are in the writing boat with them.

Inspired by Amber Dusick's Crappy Pictures.


  1. Hi Diana, I love your sweet little sketch and especially the analogy of all of us being in the boat together, with the students. How great is that thought, to teach that kind of persistence! It would be a good conversation to have with colleagues, wouldn't it? I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, & that you do get your writing done, too! I'll be thinking of you!

  2. I love that phrase - word count weeds.
    I am almost finished with the 750 words a day challenge and it has been not as hard as I imagined. But then I am not writing a story, I am writing about writing.
    I also saw your comment about your one little word. My word just chose me this morning as I was writing my 750word entry. It was amazing and perfect. I love your word too. I have a quote I will send to you later.


Thanks for reading my post. Please leave a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...