Starting over every day

(NaNoWriMo cheerleading post for November 19 – comment on this post if you would like me to address a specific topic)

Yeah, it’s NaNoWriMo.  National Novel Writing Month, emphasis on the “month” part.

But here’s the trick:  That’s nonsense.  People don’t do things for a month.  They do things now.  You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.  Maybe the government is going to declare that November is only 19 days long, and tomorrow it’s going to be April.  Maybe you’ll get hit by a school bus on the way to work, or the heat death of the universe will come a little earlier  than the official schedule of billions of years.

And maybe you’ll reach your word goal tomorrow, or run out of things to say, or suddenly start work on an entirely different project.  Who knows?  It doesn’t matter.

Yesterday isn’t important either.  If you spent it in an emergency room, in meetings, making phone calls to your Senator, wrapped in a blanket eating chocolates and looking at clickbait lists, or driving your mother to doctor’s appointments, that’s yesterday.

As they say, “Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a mystery.”

One day at a time.

All you have is today.  Right now.  Right here.

As I’ve said before, we tell ourselves stories all the time.  We narrate our lives, in order to make things seem like an uninterrupted progression with a coherent theme.  Depending on mood, that narrative can be one of incremental success, utter failure, catastrophic challenge, or lunatic silliness.

We also fall prey to the idea that today is the end of history.*  Everything that has happened up to now has culminated in this day, and from now on we’re going to be just like this until the end of time.  We’re doomed (or destined for greatness, depending on your attitude).

Nope.  How about this:  Today is the beginning of history.  Today is the day you are going to do that thing you have always wanted to do.  If you have to tell a story, tell the story you’re going to give in your TED talk two years from now when you’re a published author, about how after a series of false starts you found your way into a daily writing schedule on November 19, 2016.

So sit down and write something.  Even if the past couple of weeks were up-and-down, tell yourself the story that you’re the kind of person who writes every day.

Tomorrow:  Theme – You Can’t Help Having One

*Francis Fukuyama coined the term “end of history,” but Karl Marx came up with the idea first.  It’s a political concept, but it applies to individuals.

†Yeah, this post is basically just “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” but I am being a cheerleader this month.  It doesn’t always come naturally.  And please don’t call me enthusiastic.  It really pisses me off. 

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