An Open Letter to Salon’s Laura Miller

Dear Ms. Miller:

My first National Novel Writing Month win (which is defined as 50k words) was in 2003. It was a thinly veiled autobiographical novel, basically about how I wish my previous relationship had ended, instead of the way it actually imploded. I printed out one copy, deleted all electronic versions, and set the printed copy on fire.

It was very cathartic, and so much cheaper than therapy.

I’ve won NaNo 3 times, and failed 5 times. In those eight attempts, I’ve discovered many things about myself. Like, how to get back up and start again after failing, how to finish something instead of working endlessly to ‘perfect’ it, and how to put my Internal Editor, who stopped me from doing so many things in my life, through the wood chipper.

Most importantly, I learned that I enjoy writing the most when it’s just for me, with no stressing about the market and submitting it to publishers or what other people will think about it.

This year is my 9th go-round with NaNo, and whether I win or fail, whether it’s good or bad, whether I show it to others or set it on fire and dance around it, I will have created something simply for the sheer joy of it.

Ms. Miller, what will you do during YOUR November?

Mary Sue
A Fellow Writer

(p.s. for those of you who want to know my secrets, see my post NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks, or SHUT IT AND WRITE.)

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