November is here. I consider this the start of the holiday season. We discuss plans and menus for Thanksgiving. We consider gifts for Christmas and start making lists. New tasks are added to an already busy schedule.
For authors, November can add an extra challenge. This is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. This is the month where authors can sign up to write at least 50,000 words of a novel. The focus is getting words on the page, not editing as you go.
For newer authors this can be a challenge. Writing isn’t easy. Putting the story you see in your head on to a page is daunting. Those words that sounded so good don’t look quite right when written down. But, writing takes practice, so participating in NaNoWriMo is good. Why?
Writing can be a lonely profession. An author spends hours alone – except for all those imaginary people – hunched over a keyboard. Type. Type. Type. Research. Type some more. Get coffee. Get some chocolate. But keep typing. Alone.
Writing is filled with doubts. No matter how much the author loves the story there is no guarantee anyone else will like it. All it takes to confirm this is to read reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Even popular books have some nasty reviews. Every author is hurt by those reviews and the looming possibility that people will be cruel can cause you to doubt your craft.
Writers need encouragement. Every writer can use a dose of affirmation. That can come from many places, but during November’s NaNoWriMo, encouragement is everywhere. There are online groups and in person groups that meet. They don’t care if your story and writing are stellar, they just encourage you to put words on the page and do what you are called to do.
I also believe this applies to many people in many professions. I think of my walk as a Christian. Hebrews 10:24, 25, says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some but exhorting one another…” What wonderful words as we consider the needs of fellow Christians.
Being Christian can be lonely. Whether at home or in the workplace, being a Christian can be a difficult and lonely place to be. Often, we are treated differently. Sometimes we are shunned over some preconceived notion of how we will think or act.
Being Christian can be filled with doubts. Faith is just that—faith. Not a road map with the stops and actions laid out, but a walk on a path that is often clouded and hard to perceive. Harsh words from those around us, and even criticism within the Christian community, can be very discouraging. All we want is to please God. This sounds easy, but can be filled with uncertainty.
Christians need encouragement. Sometimes all it takes to get a Christian back on track is an affirmation that God loves them. Going to church on Sunday gives an opportunity to meet with others just like you, walking in faith, struggling with doubt. It’s a time to sing and praise, to worship God in the reading and hearing of His Word. A time to get refilled for the coming week.
I love the idea of encouragement and often try to smile at people or say something uplifting. Instead of focusing on criticism and negativity, I think those we come in contact with would benefit from some affirmation. Don’t you?
So, this November, as the holiday season begins, consider adding one more item to your to-do list. Encourage someone every day.