The Writing Life: On the Brink of Inspiration

The world needs your novel this year, too.

It’s strange to consider that my writing life really only took off when I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. I had written novels and short stories, but the mad dash I made toward 50,000 words over the days and nights of a chilly and rainy November began my career as a published author.

It’s amazing to think that thirteen years ago this month, I took the first steps that would change my life completely.


I think this may be my last National Novel Writing Month. I can imagine someone would love to pick up Just Jess as his or her NaNoWriMo 2016 account handle. That old, reliable account name did me quite a bit of good. It may even be a lucky WriMo account handle. I have dozens of manuscripts and four published novels because I participated every November in the free-for-all writing life year after year. I feel like a winner when I complete a NaNoWriMo manuscript. Then, I feel tired.

Right now, I also feel tired. Frayed at the edges. Worn out and dog-eared. One of my NaNoWriMo 2012 novels is in print. The other has been renamed from its working title and is a shelved work in progress. It should have been published in the middle of National Novel Writing Month 2015, right in time for the Thanksgiving travel rush. Today, I have no estimated date of publication. I am in a truly demoralizing predicament.

Can I even get inspired to participate this year? Though naming my NaNoWriMo project “No Current Novel” looks interesting, who needs another navel-gazing, novel-gazing novelist bemoaning life as a writer?

Well, whatever happens to Just Jess, I’m still holding fast to that account name until December first. Maybe this year will spark something new and exciting, and I will be inspired to keep participating until I celebrate my twenty-fifth anniversary as a National Novel Writing Month participant.

Anything is possible in the writing life. That’s what makes the writing life a good life, even when it’s not so good at the moment.


2 thoughts on “The Writing Life: On the Brink of Inspiration”

  1. NaNoWriMo was part of your journey as a writer. You are now well established and admirably so. NaNoWriMo WAS part of the journey but you’ve been there and you don’t need it any more. You’ve worked damn hard, it’s timely that you’re all tuckered out. So rest Jess, you’ve earned a holiday. No more Just Jess. Restin’ Jess until further notice.
    Sending soft hugs and resting thoughts.


  2. Awwww.

    Well, you don’t have to delete the name and give up on it. It will remain there. Hell, there was one November I didn’t do it–which was the year I did Camp NaNo and was too burned out to do November too. I still consider the streak unbroken though.

    If you need to take the month/year off, then do what you gotta do. Though I have faith that if you wanted to pull a plot out of your butt on November 1, you of all people could.


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