Do I look stupid in this?

(Duck!)

Well, hello you! Here we both are (you and me) in the last week… of France, of the daily blogging, of the travelling, of the waking up in a new place every morning. Now what? What will we do next week? What will I spend my daily budget for writing on? What will you be reading with your morning coffee?

(Flowers in the park in La Flèche)

Will we try something different? Have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo? Well if you haven’t you might like to google it or hang on, listen, I’ll give you a synopsis: It’s 20 years old and began with a few people challenging themselves to write 50,000 words of a novel for November in 1999. The novel doesn’t have to be finished. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be 50,000 words. (Yep, I know, that’s a lot.) It’s a way to build the habit of writing every day for the month of November. It’s like a kickstart to your next book. Do you want to write a book? Ah go on, you do!

(Look at that lovely sky)

Will we do it? Are you even remotely interested? If you have even a smidgen of interest, could you consider making a commitment? Even to tell one other person? Could you tell me? I won’t tell anyone… unless you want me to.

(And this lovely lane)

What’s stopping you? If you start this November you could have your novel published by next year and then you’ll be able to start your second book, it all starts with this first one. Don’t let anything stop you this year.

(That’s the military college in La Flèche)

Can I tell you a story about what stopped me for so long? Yes? Ok. Once upon a time, I had ginormous fears about what might happen if anyone else saw my writing (let’s be honest I still do…) Or if I told anyone I wanted to write. Or, god forbid, I wrote a book and someone thought it was awful. I would shudder just thinking about how terrible it would be if I made a show of myself. That might be an Irishism, I mean I had ginormous fears about doing something that would make me look stupid.

(Walk towards the light…)

That was enough to stop me doing something that felt very exciting. Something that made me smile just thinking about it. Something creative. Something that was just me expressing me in the world. Looking stupid is not terminal. Stopping myself expressing myself could be.

(Very old gate)

A weird thing happened when I finished Everyday Fearless… nothing. Yes, nothing bad happened when I finished writing, finished publishing and finished sharing my writing. Nothing. To be clear, when I risked looking small and stupid, nothing happened. In spite of it not being perfect, the writing police did not prosecute me. I’m sure some people think it is awful but the big gang of people I imagined laughing at me, didn’t show up either. On the other hand they’re all still out there or more accurately in here but now I know the thing that lowers the volume on their laughter or their criticism, is expression. My expression. Expressing myself. Express yourself. Writing. Or painting. Or drawing. Or whatever creative pursuit excites you.

(Attic windows, red brick chimneys, the church spire and a blue sky – happy day)

Will you take a chance? We could make a show of ourselves. Don’t think too long about this, it’s nearly November. You and I have writing to do. Are you ready?

Making a show of yourself is not terminal, Mairead.

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